SCOOP 2015: Toby Work closes up shop, Mercier 3rd in Event #35-M, $215 8-Game

To say that Jason Mercier has been on a heater lately is a modest understatement. The Team PokerStars pro has already earned three titles in 10 days and sits atop the Player of the Series leaderboard with four days left to go. But while a burgeoning collection of champion's watches has been the flashiest part of his run, not all of his leaderboard points have come via those big wins. Tonight he picked up another 70 points with a third-place finish while Denmark's Toby Work earned a career-best score in Event #35-M.

This $215 8-Game tournament kicked off at 11:00 a.m. ET and by 2:30 p.m. registration ended with 548 players, building a total prize pool worth $109,600. By 5:20 p.m. ET the money bubble had popped as Germany's Fold_3_Aces' elimination in 73rd place. Mercier was going strong at that point in 22nd place with 52K, while simultaneously sitting 16th of 31 in the $2,100 version of this event.


The Human Final Table, Jason Mercier

The Team Pro moved up into the top 10 over the next 10 minutes as the short stacks began cashing out and spent the rest of the way to the final table there, sitting in 7th position or better all the way until there were just eight players remaining. He bubbled Event #35-H in the meantime, but a string of three six-figure pots in four hands on the 12K/24K 2-7 Triple Draw round moved him into the chip lead with 510,946 chips with 8 players remaining. He would slide further back but was still in the running when the final table started:

Seat 1: OhRaisyDaisy (108,320 in chips)
Seat 2: Toby Work (1,011,239 in chips)
Seat 3: Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich (720,038 in chips)
Seat 4: Team PokerStars Pro Jason "JasonMercier" Mercier (242,574 in chips)
Seat 5: Remko "happyfreaked" Rinkema (334,471 in chips)
Seat 6: NorBaggio (323,358 in chips)

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One of the players who made it through to the final six is more well-known for writing about those at final tables than playing them himself. Veteran poker media member Remko "happyfreaked" Rinkema was appearing at his first SCOOP final table after coming close with a bubble finish back in 2009 - not bad for a guy who said in an interview just a month and a half ago that his serious poker days were over! He was in fine company, too, with both Mercier and three-time COOP winner and EPT11 Grand Final Super High Roller runner-up Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich.

The very first hand of the final table brought its first elimination. OhRaisyDaisy opened the action in a hand of 20K/40K/4K Stud hi with a split pair of aces but slowed down and called when Toby Work raised, calling again on fourth and getting all-in with a check-raise on fifth street. Toby Work's (8♠ K♠) K♥ T♠ 3♣ board was just 31 percent to win the pot, but the K♣ on sixth street made three of a kind and left OhRaisyDaisy with two outs. With a (5♠ A♥) A♠ 6♦ 9♦ 4♦ (J♣) board showing for a lone pair of aces, OhRaisyDaisy lost out on the 238K-chip pot and finished in 6th place ($3,507.20).

Colisea was able to pick up a 426K-chip pot against NorBaggio before the Stud round ended after starting with a split pair of sevens, making sevens and treys by fifth street, and rivering another seven for a full house. Left with 175K after the 20K/40K/4K Stud hi/lo, 6.25K/12.5K/1.6K no-limit hold'em, and 6.25K/12.5K pot-limit Omaha rounds, NorBaggio hit the gas during 30K/60K 2-7 triple draw and got all-in before the second draw after four-betting before the first draw in a heads-up pot with Jason Mercier. NorBaggio drew one card on the first draw and then stood on 8♦ 7♦ 4♥ 3♥ 2♠ the rest of the way, just beating the 8♥ 7♠ 6♦ 4♦ 3♣ Mercier had stood pat on back on the first draw.

That pot boosted NorBaggio's stack to 380K and left Mercier with 189K, but the Team Pro doubled up to 453K two hands later after taking one card on the first draw against Toby Work, making an 8-7, and having it hold after two more draws against a 9-7.

NorBaggio didn't fare so well on the next hand, making a pair of threes by the third draw after happyfreaked took one on the first draw and stood pat the rest of the way with a made 7-5 low. That left the Hungarian player with 108K, all of which went in the middle from the big blind before the first draw on the following hand. Mercier was the opponent and both players took two cards on the first draw. NorBaggio stood pat after that, while Mercier took one card on the second before standing pat on the third as well. NorBaggio's J♣ 9♠ 8♣ 7♥ 6♦ lost out to Mercier's 8♥ 7♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣, sending the Hungarian to the rail in 5th place ($5,480).

After 45 minutes of poker and more than one full rotation through the eight games in the mix, these four players were still alive:

Seat 2: Toby Work (1,037,558 in chips)
Seat 3: Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich (716,857 in chips)
Seat 4: Jason "JasonMercier" Mercier (562,695 in chips)
Seat 5: Remko "happyfreaked" Rinkema (422,890 in chips)

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After finishing out the Triple Draw level, play continued through 30K/60K limit hold'em and 40K/80K limit Omaha hi/lo, into the 40K/80K/8K Razz round without no eliminations but plenty of movement on the leaderboard. Rinkema had moved into the chip lead with 1.42M, with Mercier at 539K, Toby Work at 430K, and Colisea bringing up the rear at 347K.

Just a few hands played without any results left Colisea at 151K when Toby Work got the bring-in with the K♥ showing. Colisea had T♣ 9♦ in the hole but the 2♠ face-up and completed the bet for 40K. The Polish player decided to commit after Rinkema raised to 80K and was all-in before fourth street against Rinkema's (3♣ 2♦) 6♠. He made a 7-6 by sixth street, when Colisea had a T-9 with a pair of deuces, to leave the player from Poland drawing dead. With that, Colisea left in 4th place ($7,672), earning another 60 points to move into a tie for third place on the Player of the Series leaderboard.

The three Stud rounds went by without any major fireworks, aside from Toby Work doubling through Jason Mercier during 50K/100K/10K Stud when Mercier's flush draw didn't come in and Toby Work's split pair of jacks improved to jacks and sevens by sixth street. Mercier got as low as 90K before picking up a few rounds of antes and then making kings full of jacks by sixth street to double to 340K through Toby Work.

The 15K/30K/3.75K no-limit hold'em round was confrontation-free in the early going. Eventually Toby Work would open for 60K on the button and Mercier shoved for 348K on a re-steal with A♥ 7♥. Rinkema re-shoved for 1.15M in the big blind to isolate and got heads-up with Mercier holding A♠ J♥. The 3♥ 5♠ 9♥ flop was pure danger for Rinkema, and the 6♠ turn gave Mercier a 38-percent chance to win on the river, but the 3♣ came and Rinkema's hand held up unimproved for the 767K-chip pot. With that, Jason Mercier's quest for a fourth SCOOP title in two weeks ended in 3rd place ($11,234).


No title this time as Jason Mercier finished in third

After the departure of the final table's heaviest hitter, the remaining two players were separated by 14 big blinds:

Seat 2: Toby Work (1,161,065 in chips)
Seat 5: Remko "happyfreaked" Rinkema (1,578,935 in chips)

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Beyond outlasting the hottest player in online poker, getting this far was a big deal for both players. Rinkema's previous closest call with a major title was that final-table bubble during SCOOP 2009, in the low-tier 8-Game event. Meanwhile, Toby Work was adding a first SCOOP final appearance to a resume that already included two wins against fields of more than 1,300, fourth place in a $1 re-buy against a field of 27,000+, and a runner-up finish in an 8-Game tourney with a field of nearly 3,000.

They agreed to talk over a deal and took just a few minutes to get things taken care of, leaving $1,000 on the table for the winner. There was another 12 minutes of poker ahead of the two after the deal, starting with a PLO level that passed without major incident but saw Toby Work inch into the chip lead. Then came the third hand of Triple Draw, which Toby Work won for 640K without showdown after Rinkema drew two cards on both of the first two draws without improving.

Folding there left Rinkema with 927K, and a few hands later he drew one card to the nuts on all three draws without catching to be left with 207K. Two hands after that his best chance yet at a SCOOP title ended after drawing three cards, two cards, and then one more on the final draw to improve to T♠ 9♠ 8♦ 7♣ 3♠, only to have Toby Work turn over T♣ 8♣ 6♠ 4♣ 2♦ and close out the tournament.

Remko Rinkema didn't win the title, but he did take the biggest prize in the tournament at $18,195.21 after having the lead when the deal was struck. As for Toby Work, the extra cash on the table made for a total $17,972.79 prize, a new career best. Congratulations to both players for their fine performances at this tough final table!

SCOOP 35-M: $215 8-Game
Entrants: 548
Prize pool: $109,600
Places paid: 72

1. Toby Work (Denmark) $17,972.79*
2. Remko "happyfreaked" Rinkema (Netherlands) $18,195.21*
3. Team PokerStars Pro Jason "JasonMercier" Mercier (Canada) $11,234
4. Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich (Poland) $7,672
5. NorBaggio (Hungary) $5,480
6. OhRaisyDaisy (Russia) $3,507.20
* - denotes results of a heads-up deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP