SCOOP 2015: Persistence pays off for Zelja22 in Event #36-M ($109 NLHE Progressive Super-Knockout)

For a while there, it looked like mahmuttt88 would run away with this one. With eight players remaining, the Fin was up to 17 million in chips while his opponents all sported stacks below 4.5 million. A better run of cards might have allowed mahmuttt88 to pick them all off like a sniper, but by the time play was four-handed, Zelja22 was closing in on his once-mighty chip lead. The two ultimately went heads-up for the title and a lengthy slugfest ensued. Not even an ICM chop for all but $6,000 could stop this knock-down, drag-out battle as the chip lead whipped back and forth. Zelja22 had mahmuttt88 on the ropes several times only to have him slither out of a chokehold and land a haymaker, but after two hours, Zelja22 finally dealt the knockout blow and claimed his first SCOOP title.

6,679 players flocked to Event #36-M, driving the prize pool up to $667,900.00 ($333,950 each in the main and bounty pools). 855 places were paid with $51,765.85 set aside for first place. Twenty-five levels were played on Day 1, reducing the field to 199 players. Germany's Barrrii held the overnight chip lead with 722,774.

It took another seven and a half hours of play on Day 2 to reach the final table bubble. The blinds were 22,500/45,000 when Zelja22 opened for 90,000 from under-the-gun and AlwaysGoBig9 three-bet to 245,000. Gicser85 cold-called from the big blind and Zelja22 called as well. When the flop fell 9♣5♣3♣, the action checked to AlwaysGoBig9, who bet 387,500. Gicser85 folded, but Zelja22 moved all-in for 1.98 million. AlwaysGoBig9 called, revealing A♦9♥, while Zelja22 showed J♣T♣ for a flopped flush. AlwaysGoBig9 was drawing dead when the 6♥ hit the turn and went out in tenth place.

2015_SCOOP Ev36M_FT.jpg

Final table chip counts

Seat 1: FlushdrawIRE (2,109,013 in chips)
Seat 2: mahmuttt88 (10,752,134 in chips)
Seat 3: BaXtO11 (740,164 in chips)
Seat 4: Zelja22 (4,527,755 in chips)
Seat 5: wgdjunior (3,789,847 in chips)
Seat 6: PicoStar88 (1,793,120 in chips)
Seat 7: joaoMathias (1,540,061 in chips)
Seat 8: gicser85 (5,744,789 in chips)
Seat 9: ItsMyReality (2,398,117 in chips)

Short stack BaXtO11 was the final table's first casualty. After mahmuttt88 opened for 132,000 from the hijack, BaXtO11 three-bet shoved for 406,478 and Zelja22 cold four-bet to 714,234. Mahmuttt88 gave up his hand and the cards went on their backs-- A♣K♣ for BaXtO11 and T♣T♦ for Zelja22. Zelja22 turned a flush on the J♦7♦5♦2♦6♣ board and BaXtO11 hit the rail in ninth place.

With the blinds up to 40,000/80,000, FlushdrawIRE left ItsMyReality on 610,000 in chips when his T♠T♣ flopped a set against Q♦Q♣. However, ItsMyReality quickly rebounded, tripling to 1.8 million when his K♠J♦ flopped kings and fours against Zelja22's A♥Q♦ and joaoMathias's pocket nines. Then, on the next deal, mahmuttt88 opened for 220,000 and Zelja22 called, taking them to a J♣T♣6♠ flop. Mahmuttt88 bet 268,000 and Zelja22 called. The turn came the 4♣ and mahmuttt88 fired another 587,400. Again, Zelja22 called. The river was the 8♦ and mahmuttt88 made it 1.42 million to go. Zelja22 called, but could not beat mahmuttt88's J♦6♣ for jacks and sixes. Mahmuttt88 raked in the 5.24 million pot, taking his chip lead up to 17 million while Zelja22 fell to 1.4 million.

Down to 533,000, joaoMathias open-shoved from under-the-gun, mahmuttt88 reshoved from the small blind and Zelja22 called all-in from the big blind. Both mahmuttt88 and Zelja22 had joaoMathias covered.

mahmuttt88 6♦T♣
Zelja22 8♠8♥
joaoMathias Q♠7♠

The 8♦5♠2♥ flop made Zelja22 a set of eights and missed joaoMathias entirely. The 2♦ turn improved Zelja22 to eights full and joaoMathias ended his run in eighth place.

The blinds were up to 50,000/100,000 when mahmuttt88 opened for 211,000 and PicoStar88 shoved for 1.46 million from the small blind with 8♠8♥. Mahmutt888 called and was in dire shape with 2♦2♣, but caught a deuce on the flop to make a set. PicoStar88 needed an eight to survive, but blanked on the rest of the 9♥6♣2♠T♥J♥ board and went out in seventh place.

Moments later, wgdjuinior got the rest of his chips in the middle preflop vs. mahmuttt88, only to have his K♠K♦ run headlong into A♥A♣. Matmuttt88's aces held up on the J♦J♠3♥T♠2♦ board and wgdjuinior was suddenly on the rail in sixth place. Then, on the very next hand, gicser85 four-bet shoved for 2.83 million preflop and mahmuttt88 called with J♣J♠. Gicser85 turned up A♦A♣ and doubled to 5.81 million when the board ran out eight-high, good for second in chips.

Meanwhile, ItsMyReality was down to 1.44 million in chips and open-shoved from UTG with 4♣4♦. FlushdrawIRE reshoved from the cutoff for 2.94 million and gicser85 called from the big blind.

gicser85 A♦K♥
ItsMyReality 4♣4♦
FlushdrawIRE T♠T♣

FlushdrawIRE's pocket tens held up on the Q♣J♠7♠7♦6♦ board to win him the main and side pots, while ItsMyReality hit the rail in fifth place.

When play turned four-handed, mahmuttt88 was the runaway chip leader with 20 million, FlushdrawIRE was second with 7.33 million, and both gicser85 and Zilja22 were below 3 million in chips. Zelja22, however, got off the short stack when he won a crucial coinflip with A♥K♥ vs. mahmuttt88's J♠J♦ to double to 5.75 million. Ten minutes later, Zelja22 put another dent in mahmuttt88's stack. On a 8♠6♦5♠ flop, mahmuttt88 led out for 242,000 and Zelja22 raised to 718,234. Mahmuttt88 four-bet to 1,422,000, Zelja22 shoved and mahmuttt88 called with 4♠7♥ for a flopped eight-high straight. Zelja22 had one better and turned over 7♠9♠ for a nine-high straight with a flush redraw. Zelja22 made a ten-high flush when the T♠ turned and doubled to 10.1 million. Mahmuttt88 still had the chip lead with 11.8 million, but the massive gap between first and second was nearly closed.

FlushdrawIRE sank to 2.45 million by the time the blinds rose to 70,000/140,000 and three-bet shoved from the big blind with A♥J♣. Mahmuttt88 called with K♠Q♣ and took the lead when the flop fell Q♥J♥9♠. FlushdrawIRE didn't get the ace or jack he was looking for and went out in fourth place.

As three-handed play commenced, mahmuttt88 once again had a dominating chip lead with 18.7 million in chips, Zelja22 held 9.1 million and gicser85 was the short stack with 5.54 million. Gicser85 wasn't much longer for this final table and with 4.63 million remaining, three-bet shoved from the small blind with A♦Q♠. Zelja22 called with A♠K♠ and his dominating hand held up on the A♣5♦3♣9♥9♠ board, ending gicser85's run in third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: mahmuttt88 (16,961,835 in chips, $10,261.89 bounty)
Seat 4: Zelja22 (16,433,165 in chips, $6,244.47 bounty)

Although mahmuttt88 and Zelja22 started heads-up play with nearly equal stacks, their chip counts diverged when mahmuttt88 picked up two substantial pots to take a 2 to 1 chip lead. In the first, mahmuttt88 got three streets of value on a turned pair of kings; on the following hand he bet the flop, raised the turn and got a fold on the river. Mahmuttt88 was up to 21.2 million when Zelja22 fired back. With the blinds up to 80,000/160,000, mahmuttt88 opened for 320,000 and Zelja22 called. Zelja22 check-called another 320,000 on the Q♠8♦3♣ flop and checked again when the 6♣ turned. Mahmuttt88 bet 720,000 and Zelja22 called. The river was the T♦ and again, Zelja22 checked. Mahmuttt88 bet 1.44 million and Zelja22 raised to 4.39 million. Mahmuttt88 gave up his hand and Zelja22 raked in the 5.64 million pot.

The counts were dead even again when Zelja22 opened for a min-raise to 400,000 and mahmuttt88 three-bet to 1.1 million. Zelja22 called and the flop came down Q♦9♣6♣. Mahmuttt88 led out for 900,000 and Zelja22 called. The turn came the Q♥ and mahmuttt88 fired another 1.85 million. Zellja22 called and the 6♦ hit the river. Mahmuttt88 checked, Zelja22 bet 4,214,714 and mahmuttt88 looked him up. Zelja22 rolled over 6♥8♥ for sixes full of queens and mahmuttt88 mucked. With that pot, Zelja22 moved up to 24.8 million in chips while mahmuttt88 fell to 8.6 million.

Mahmuttt88 slipped all the way to 3.8 million in chips before he won a coinflip for his tournament life, his 4♠4♦ holding up against A♥Q♦ to double his stack to 7.62 million. It set off a run when mahmuttt88 won 15 out of 16 pots to work his way back up to 15.3 million in chips, and the stacks were nearly even when mahmuttt88 opened for 500,000 with pocket fives. Zelja22 called and they saw a Q♣9♣3♠ flop. Zelja22 check-called 420,000 and both players checked the 4♣ turn. The river was the 9♥ and Zelja22 led out for 1,374,874. Mahmuttt88 called and Zelja22 showed 8♠T♣ for a stone bluff as mahmuttt88 raked in the 4.65 million pot. Mahmuttt88 retook the chip lead with 18.9 million while Zelja22 dropped to 14.5 million.

mahmuttt88: tight game man gl
mahmuttt88: was lucky to recov

After an hour and twenty minutes of heads-up play, mahmuttt88 and Zelja22 agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up when the music stopped:

mahmuttt88 17,932,564
Zelja22 15,462,436

Both players quickly agreed to an ICM chop that awarded mahmuttt88 $42,357.31 and Zelja22 $41,812.79. With $6,000 left to play for, cards went back in the air.

This match was by no means over with the deal. A fierce battle ensued for another forty minutes as the chip lead whipped back and forth. At first, it looked like mahmuttt88 might have it in the bag-- he chipped up to 24.1 million before Zelja22 bounced back and won an 8.27 million chip pot without a showdown to push mahmuttt88 down to 20 million. Zelja22 went on to win two more sizable pots in a row to move up to 26.9 million before mahmuttt88 doubled up to 12.8 million with J♠J♥ vs. K♠9♥.

Before mahmuttt88 could take control again, Zelja22 roared back and whittled his opponent down to 7.8 million. With the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, mahmuttt88 limped in on the button and Zelja22 moved all-in for 25.5 million. Mahmuttt88 called, his 3♠3♥ racing with K♠T♠. Zelja22 flopped a king on the A♣K♣5♣Q♠4♣ board and after a long, hard slog, locked up his first SCOOP title.

Congratulations to Zelja22 on a hard-fought victory! He banked $47,812.79 for the win, along with $11,375.41 in bounties for a total haul of $59,188.20. Kudos are also due to runner-up mahmuttt88, who earned $42,357.31 along with $10,261.89 in bounties for a $52,619.20 score.

SCOOP 36-M: $109 NLHE Progressive Super-Knockout
Players: 6,679
Prizepool: $667,900.00
Places paid 855

1. Zelja22 (Croatia) $47,812.79* + $11,375.41in bounties= $59,188.20
2. mahmuttt88 (Finland) $42,357.31* + $10,261.89 in bounties= $52,619.20
3. gicser85 (Romania) $27,049.95 + $3,717.28 in bounties= $30,767.23
4. FlushdrawIRE (Ireland) $18,751.29 + $2,055.12 in bounties= $20,806.41
5. ItsMyReality (Russia) $14,025.90 + $2,608.73 in bounties= $16,634.63
6. wgdjunior (Brazil) $10,686.40 + $2,779.58 in bounties= $13,465.98
7. PicoStar88 (Greece) $7,346.90 + $1,015.21 in bounties= $8,362.11
8. joaoMathias (Brazil) $4,174.37 + $3,215.55 in bounties= $7,389.92
9. BaXtO11 (United Kingdom) $2,604.81 + $2,165.15 in bounties = $4,769.96

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in SCOOP