SCOOP 2015: Cobus83 outduels YaAaRnY for title in Event #21-H, $700 PL 5-Card Omaha (6-max, 1R1A)

It takes a certain kind of soul to play five-card Omaha. The game is something like poker's version of BASE jumping or test piloting: those who know the game from the inside will swear to you that there's a line between genius and recklessness, and that seeing it trod is a thing of beauty, but to the untrained outside observer it can be difficult to discern. What's more, training isn't easy to come by, and failure can come swiftly and painfully.

All of this is to say that it's highly unlikely anyone faint of heart was among the 230 players who turned up for Event #21-H, a $700 6-max, 5-Card Omaha tournament with one re-buy and one add-on. Together they combined for 134 re-buys and 135 add-ons, building a total prize pool of $331,835.

It took most of the first of two days to reach the money. The bubble finally popped at 11:43 p.m., guaranteeing all 30 remaining players at least $2,654.68. More than half of them collected before the end of level 20, when play paused for the night with 14 left overnight.

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Play resumed at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday and continued for a bit over two hours before these six players sat down with 3K/6K blinds to play for a SCOOP title:

Seat 1: Nordien "BenyamineX" de Jong (487,324 in chips)
Seat 2: Nicolas "niccc" Chouity (632,496 in chips)
Seat 3: Jeff "stinger5158" Rossiter (233,240 in chips)
Seat 4: Jeff "jeff710" Hakim (177,886 in chips)
Seat 5: Bren "YaAaRnY" Lenton (289,741 in chips)
Seat 6: Cobus83 (674,313 in chips)

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There was room for plenty of betting in the early going and other than a double-up by 2013 SCOOP 31-L winner Jeff "jeff710" Hakim, nobody faced major danger in the first three orbits. Then Hand #26 saw two players dealt pairs of aces before the flop - and both in the blinds, no less.

It was a recipe for confrontation, and jeff710 ended up all-in with A♣ A♦ J♠ 3♦ 2♣. That was a few percentage points of equity behind Bren "YaAaRnY" Lenton's A♠ A♥ T♠ 8♥ 5♣ before the flop, but it became the favorite once the first three cards came 7♦ Q♦ J♥. The 2♥ actually made Hakim two pair, jacks and deuces, but the K♠ on the river gave past WCOOP and SCOOP PLO event runner-up YaAaRnY a Broadway straight. Nobody's pair of aces came into play, YaAaRnY won the 367K in the pot, and Hakim was gone in 6th place ($13,605.23).

Left as the short stack, Jeff "stinger5158" Rossiter was plenty active. He split one pot after getting all-in with a straight and flush draws and making the same straight as his opponent, and 10 hands later followed it up doubling through 2010 EPT Grand Final champ (and past WCOOP winner) Nicolas "niccc" Chouity after getting all-in with A♣ A♦ J♥ 9♠ 2♦ against Chouity's K♠ K♦ 4♦ 2♠ 2♣, only to win the 249K-chip pot with trip jacks.

Seven hands later it was the same equation, only stinger5158 with the kings all-in before the flop. He picked up K♠ K♣ J♣ 6♠ 5♥ under the gun and raised, ending up all-in before the flop after getting into a raising battle with past Sunday Warm-Up champ Cobus83, who was dealt A♥ A♠ T♣ 6♣ 3♣ on the button. Cobus83 was a slim favorite before and after the 8♦ 2♠ 9♠ flop, which gave stinger5158 flush and gutshot straight draws, but jumped ahead when the 7♥ made a ten-high straight. The T♥ river changed nothing, and stringer5158 left the tournament in 5th place ($19,910.10).

From four to two

Cobus83 had the lead with 1.03M. With blinds at 4K/8K, that was 47 big blinds ahead of second-place YaAaRnY, 67 ahead of Chouity, and 87 ahead of Nordien "BenyamineX" de Jong. The past Sunday Warm-Up champion was able to expand that lead a bit over the next 31 hands, and YaAaRnY chipped up a bit as well. That left both Chouity and de Jong under 40 big blinds apiece by the time the next major pot developed.

YaAaRnY opened that one for 17K on the button, then made it four bets for 169K when BenyamineX three-bet to 55K in the big blind. BenyamineX called to put 341K in the pot, then moved all-in for 90K on the 4♥ K♦ T♣ flop. YaAaRnY called with A♣ A♥ J♠ 5♠ 4♠, good for a pair of aces and an inside straight draw but still trailing BenyamineX's K♥ J♣ T♠ 9♣ 5♥, which had top two pair. The 8♥ didn't change anything on the turn, but the Q♣ on the river filled both players' straight draws. BenyamineX's was king-high, though, while YaAaRnY's was a Broadway straight, giving YaAaRnY the 523K-chip pot and knocking BenyamineX out in 4th place ($26,546.80).

Only four more hands would go by before YaAaRnY struck again. Nicolas Chouity opened the action limping in from the small blind, only to check-raise to 72K when YaAaRnY raised to 24K in the big blind. YaAaRnY called, then raised enough to put Chouity in after he led for 144K on the A♠ 9♦ 7♠ flop. Chouity called with K♦ K♥ 9♣ 7♥ 3♦ for two pair, nines and sevens, which was an underdog against YaAaRnY's A♦ K♣ Q♠ T♦ 8♦ for a pair of aces and more than a few draws. None of those got there on the 2♥ turn, but the J♠ on the river made a jack-high straight to give YaAaRnY the 535K-chip pot and send Chouity to the rail in 3rd place ($39,820.20).

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2010 EPT Grand Final champ Nicolas Chouity, out in 3rd

The long fight

It was anyone's game as heads-up play started with just two big blinds separating the two players:

Seat 5: YaAaRnY (1,241,106 in chips)
Seat 6: Cobus83 (1,253,894 in chips)

Bren "YaAaRnY" Lenton had finished second in a SCOOP event once before (and in a WCOOP event as well) and would end up having to settle for second again this time around, but not before playing 230 hands of back-and-forth poker against Cobus83.

The two stayed within 10 big blinds of each other for the first 40 hands before Cobus83 started to inch ahead. Then YaAaRnY struck back, winning a 964K-chip pot with an uncalled all-in bet of 349K on the river of a 7♥ J♥ 6♣ 9♠ 4♣ board. Another 547K-chip pot six hands later had YaAaRnY up 1.59M-900K, a lead that held strong for the next 40 hands or so before Cobus83 was able to begin chipping back up a bit.

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Then came a stretch of 12 hands where YaAaRnY was only able to steal the blinds twice and split the pot once, while Cobus83 won four six-figure pots, capped by one worth 296K won uncontested on the turn of a 9♥ A♥ 3♦ Q♠ board after three bets before the flop a half-pot bet on it. That dropped YaAaRnY to less than a million chips, and the next few dozen hands dropped his stack as low as 570K. Then he flopped trip eights with A♣ Q♥ T♣ 9♠ 8♣ and survived all-in against Cobus83's pair of kings and diamond flush draw for 1.14M, getting a foothold once again.

Within 30 hands YaAaRnY had chipped up enough to put the chip stacks back to almost exactly where they'd been at the start of the heads-up match, but within another 30 hands the tournament would come to a close with another second-place finish on his resume. Only 12 of those pots were worth at least 10 big blinds, and eight of them went to Cobus83, leaving YaAaRnY with 693K heading into what would be the final hand.

Cobus83 opened that hand for 32K on the button, then four-bet to 286K after YaAaRnY re-raised to 96 in the big blind. YaAaRnY called with 407K behind and then check-called all of that off on the 5♠ 8♠ J♦ flop, showing A♦ J♣ 9♣ 8♦ 6♦ for top two pair. Cobus83 was drawing with K♣ K♠ Q♣ Q♥ 9♠ and got there when the K♦ came on the turn for three of a kind. The T♥ on the river made an unnecessary king-high straight for Cobus83 and brought the tournament to an end.

It may have been another runner-up finish for Bren "YaAaRnY" Lenton, but at $53,093.60, it was a profitable one - and still the third-best of lenton's PokerStars career. For the win, Cobus83 takes home $76,322.13, second all-time for the player from Malta and the best since winning the Sunday Warm-Up back in 2008. Congratulations to both players on a hard-fought tournament.

SCOOP 21-H: $700 PL 5-Card Omaha (6-max, 1R1A)
Entrants: 230 (134 re-buys, 135 add-ons)
Prize pool: $331,835
Places paid: 30

1. Cobus83 (Malta) $76,322.13
2. Bren "YaAaRnY" Lenton (United Kingdom) $53,093.60
3. Nicolas "niccc" Chouity (Lebanon) $39,820.20
4. Nordien "BenyamineX" de Jong (Netherlands) $26,546.80
5. Jeff "stinger5158" Rossiter (Australia) $19,910.10
6. Jeff "jeff710" Hakim (Canada) $13,605.23

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP