SCOOP 2015: Second time's the charm for €urop€an in Event #6-H, $700 NLHE (Heads-Up)
It's not uncommon for player to make multiple SCOOP final tables over the years. Making it to heads-up play in a SCOOP event more than once is a bit tougher, in most cases. Unless, of course, your final table repeat comes in a heads-up tourney. €urop€an pulled that feat off tonight and even managed to do it one better, improving on that previous finish for a $71,985.35 payday and first career SCOOP title.
One of just two high-stakes heads-up no-limit hold'em tournaments on this year's SCOOP schedule, Event #6-H drew a hefty bracket of 597 players as things got underway at 2 p.m. ET. At $700 a pop that built a total prize pool of $397,005, and the field size meant 85 of them got a bye in the first round.
Everybody who made it through to Round 5 of the tournament would cash for at least $2,183.52, with $71,985.35 awaiting the lone grinder who outlasted the entire bracket. Team PokerStars' own Jason "jcarverpoker" Somerville made it through to the fifth round but couldn't advance further, settling for a $2,183.52 payout in 45th place.
Despite a smaller field than many other events, the heads-up bracket structure meant a long wait to make it to the big money. The two semifinals didn't get started until more than 14 hours after the first cards were dealt, making the final a test not just of poker skill but also of endurance.
Semifinal 1: saner31 (Switzerland) vs. heißtercamp (Austria)
Switzerland's saner31 had advanced through the money rounds by defeating lasagnaaammm, LastOrange, FreeLancerZZ, and Koln4ever. On the other side of the table, heißtercamp's path to the semifinal had progressed through IneedMassari, Jakezesnake, flippetyflop, and lalaurivera.
The early hands of their match were evenly distributed between the two competitors. As Hand #14 began they were just 66 chips apart, or slightly more than one big blind. heißtercamp opened for 150 on the button and saner31 called before both players checked the 2♣ 4♣ 7♣ flop. saner31 then bet 150 on the 6♥ turn and 400 on the 6♠ river, bets that heißtercamp called down. The Austrian player showed A♠ 3♠ - unimproved, but good for the 1,400-chip pot against saner31's K♥ 9♠.
saner31 got most of those chips back five hands later, triple-barreling to finally shake heißtercamp on the river of a Q♣ 2♠ 3♦ A♣ J♥ board for a 1,200-chip pot. After six more hands the Swiss player would actually take over the lead with 5,633 chips via the same strategy, betting every street until heißtercamp folded on the river of a T♦ 8♦ T♣ T♥ 4♦ board.
heißtercamp struck back with four of the next five pots to bring the two stacks back to within 400 chips of each other. But staying aggressive on Hand #25 didn't work out as well out of position - heißtercamp three-bet to 475 before the A♠ 4♣ Q♥ flop and another 446 on it before check-folding to saner31's 921-chip bet on the 6♦ turn.
Now holding a 6,113-to-3,887 lead, saner31 played it safe, giving heißtercamp the blinds out of position and with weak hands and striking hard with better cards. In fact, the Swiss player would only win six of the next 24 pots - but they were the ones that mattered. Most of them came from calling down heißtercamp's bets after making a pair, including Hand #46, where saner31 called a min-raise out of position with 8♥ 5♦, caught a pair of eights on the 9♦ A♣ 8♣, and check-called three streets of heißtercamp bluffs with J♣ T♣.
Just 16 minutes after it started, the match came to an end on Hand #49. saner31 opened for 120 on the button and called heißtercamp's re-raise to 300 to see the 5♥ 2♠ 6♣ flop. The Swiss player had hit top pair with 7♦ 6♦ and bet 300 when checked to, then called heißtercamp's all-in check-raise to 1,923 with A♦ J♣. Between aces and jacks there were six outs in the deck, but the 8♣ and K♠ came instead to give saner31 the pot. Just like that, saner31 was into the final, and heißtercamp finished in 4th place ($22,903.21).
Semifinal 2: €urop€an (Finland) vs. Aist84 (Russia)
On the other table, €urop€an had advanced through the money rounds by defeating j_t_s80, #StefanLiv, xPastorcitox, and AceSpades11, while Aist84 had beaten jobetzu, incognita93, robinho, and nilsef. They would face each other for 89 hands, much of it spent within 10 big blinds of one another.
Aist84 moved ahead first, winning a few pots without showdown before making a Broadway straight with K♠ 4♠. The Russian player wasn't able to pull away, though, as €urop€an kept within striking distance, eventually pulling ahead on Hand #44. €urop€an open-limped and then called Aist84's out-of-position raise to 250, bringing a 6♦ A♥ 4♠ flop. €urop€an called 200 there and 400 on the J♥ turn before both players checked the T♦ river, winning the 1,700-chip pot with A♠ 5♠ against Aist84's J♦ 8♥.
That made for a slim lead of 400 chips at the 40/80 level. From there, €urop€an began to slowly but steadily pull ahead as the blinds continued to rise. The key pot came on the 50/100 level when €urop€an open-limped on the button and called Aist84's raise to 313 to see a T♥ 4♠ 6♠ flop. Both players checked and €urop€an called Aist84's 349-chip bet, bringing the 6♥ on the river. Aist84 checked this time and called €urop€an's 1,000-chip bet, but the Russian player's cards went in the muck when €urop€an showed T♦ 6♦ for sixes full of tens.
That left Aist84 with 1,846 chips, and €urop€an's steady aggression whittled that down to 896 over the next 18 hands. Finally Aist84 opened all-in with K♥ 2♥, only to run into €urop€an's K♠ J♥. The board came 6♥ 3♣ 2♠ J♠ A♥, €urop€an won the pot to move through to the next round, and Aist84 finished in 3rd place ($22,903.21).
Final: saner31 vs. €urop€an
If you were to write a script for the final of the first high-stakes heads-up tournament of this SCOOP series, you'd want to make it an epic battle between two evenly matched opponents, with near-death experiences and turnarounds the entire way. The reality lived up to those expectations as saner31 and €urop€an, who had already survived more than 595 competitors and 15 hours of poker, dueled for 151 hands before finally bringing this tournament to a close.
€urop€an jumped out to an early lead after hitting trips with 9♥ 6♥ on a 9♠ 9♣ J♦ flop and finding saner31 in an aggressive mood. The K♦ turn kept up the action before they both slowed down on the 2♣ river, and €urop€an collected the 3,568-chip pot to open up the advantage that would define the early going.
saner31 had 2,823 chips at that point but hung tight. It would be 40 hands before the Swiss player was able to get the chip counts back to anywhere close to where they'd started. In the big blind for 60, saner31 called another 90 to see a 5♠ 5♦ 7♦ flop and then led for 150. €urop€an called that bet, then 420 on the T♠ turn, and another 720 on the 7♣ river, only to muck when saner31 showed down 5♥ 2♥ for fives full of sevens.
With that 2,880-chip pot, saner31 now only trailed €urop€an by 13 big blinds. But €urop€an erased all that progress and took an even bigger lead over the next 20 hands or so.
That left saner31 with 2,142 chips. True to the ideal script, the Swiss player responded by winning the next nine pots in a row and 21 of the next 25, propelled by aggressive betting with another flopped three of a kind to seize the lead for the first time in the match.
saner31 worked that stack up to 6,210 before €urop€an struck back, winning 11 of 12 pots to chip up to 6,812 just as the blinds went up to 100/200. Despite the rising blinds (now at 50/100) and dipping below 2,000 chips at one point, saner31 dug in for the next 30 hands and managed to get back above even without having to face elimination once. The sway back and forth between the two players looked as if it might continue all night before an action flop came along to set up the endgame.
Hand #147 started innocently enough, with €urop€an limping on the button and saner31 checking to see an A♠ 8♠ 6♦ flop. saner31 led for 200 and then re-raised all-in when €urop€an raised to 550. €urop€an called with 8♥ 6♠ for two pair, a dead heat to win the hand against saner31's 9♠ 7♠. saner31's straight and flush draws died on the Q♣ turn and 9♣ river, though, leaving the Swiss player with 1,976 chips.
Four hands later the remainder of that stack went in the middle with T♦ 7♦ after €urop€an limped on the button. €urop€an called with A♥ 7♣, the board ran out 2♦ K♣ 7♠ 5♣ 6♥ and this epic duel came to a close, a full 16 hours and 21 minutes after it began.
saner31's missed draw there at the end meant the Swiss player collected $45,806.43. That's $39K more than the previous mark set nearly four years ago, making for a memorable day at the tables, even in second place. €urop€an earned $71,985.35, not tops all time for the player from Finland but still in the top five. Plus there's the matter of adding a SCOOP title to a resume that already included a Sunday Million win and a previous SCOOP runner-up finish. Congratulations to both players for finishing out this endurance test in style.
SCOOP 06-H: $700 No-Limit Hold'em (Heads-Up)
Prize pool: $397,005
Places paid: 64
1. €urop€an (Finland) $71,985.35
2. saner31 (Switzerland) $45,806.43
3. Aist84 (Russia) $22,903.21
4. heißtercamp (Austria) $22,903.21
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.