SCOOP 2015: Two wins, two nights for Jason Mercier, wins #8-H ($2K NL Draw)
One draw. No limit. Best five-card hand wins.
Event #8 of the Spring Championship of Online Poker offered players a chance to battle on the 21st-century virtual felt in a 19th-century game, no-limit five-card draw. The "High" version sported a $2,100 price tag, and just as happened in the $2,100 Badugi event (Event #5-H) it was Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier there at the end to grab the title.
That makes two wins in two nights for Mercier, and three overall after his victory in one of the 8-game SCOOP events (the "Medium") a year ago. Mercier earned $34,400 for tonight's win following a long, challenging final table.
A total of 43 took part in Event #8-H, which meant the $86,000 prize pool easily bested the $50K guarantee. A super-stacked field came out for this one, filling nearly every seat with recognizable usernames and avatars representing players with many 'COOP triumphs among them.
For proof just look at some of those who played several hours yet missed making the final two tables: Talal "raidalot" Shakerchi, Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn, Igor "lechuckpoker" Kurganov, Calvin "cal42688" Anderson, Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer, Vladimir "vovtroy" Troyanovskiy, Ole "wizowizo" Schemion, Dan "w00ki3z." Cates, and Elior "Crazy Elior" Simon.
By then they'd played about six hours and 15 minutes, with 2014 WCOOP Main Event champion Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz leading the final 12 and Mercier sitting a little below the average. Over the next hour four more hit the rail -- ilya1809 (12th), TheMuppet (11th), and warcabista (10th), and Robertino "Maestro Shao" Greco (ninth).
About 15 minutes after that Mercier knocked out XD89lol<3 in eighth in a hand which Mercier drew three tens versus XD89lol<3's three sevens. A little later Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz went down in seventh when his pair of aces failed him versus Mike "SirWatts" Watson's three queens.
The final table had begun -- and so had the money bubble as only the top five spots paid.
Seat 1: berserk64 (Russia) -- 30,478
Seat 2: Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (Canada) -- 34,857
Seat 3: Mike "SirWatts" Watson (Canada) -- 66,431
Seat 4: Flying Smile (Russia) -- 7,570
Seat 5: MIBondiola (Argentina) -- 49,236
Seat 6: Vladimir "GVOZDIKA55" Schemelev (Russia) -- 26,428
The final table started around the tournament's seven-and-a-half-hour mark. Thirty minutes after that they'd reached the next hourly break with all six players still in their seats, with Mike "SirWatts" Watson the new chip leader and Flying Smile still the short stack.
About 20 minutes later Flying Smile was still hanging on with just 2,626 chips -- not quite four big blinds -- when a hand arose in which berserk64 open-raised to 1,700 from the cutoff and Flying Smile called from the big blind. Both players drew three cards, then Flying Smile check-called all in with the last 751 after a berserk64 bet.
Flying Smile showed A♥Q♠9♦9♥5♦ for a pair of nines, but berserk64 had better with A♣K♣K♥6♥3♦ for kings, and Flying Smile was the last player out shy of the cash.
It would be another half-hour before the first of the remaining five players would be ousted to take away the initial piece of the prize pool. With the blinds 400/800 with a 200 ante, Mike "SirWatts" Watson raised to 2,000 from the cutoff, Vladimir "GVOZDIKA55" Schemelev reraised all in for 11,402 from the small blind, and Watson called.
Schemelev discarded three while Watson took only one, then Schemelev turned over K♣K♥Q♥T♠7♠ for kings. Alas for him, Watson had A♠A♦T♦T♥8♦ for two pair, and the Russian had cashed in fifth.
Just four hands later MIBondiola min-raised to 1,600 from the button and Jason Mercier called from the big blind. Mercier tossed away two and MIBondiola three, and Mercier checked. MIBondiola continued with a bet of 2,156, leaving just over 10,000 behind. Mercier responded with an all-in check-raise that well covered MIBondiola, and the latter called.
MIBondiola had a pair of aces with big side cards, and was in fact one card shy of a Royal Flush with his A♥A♣K♣J♣T♣. But Mercier had made a jack-high flush -- J♥8♥6♥3♥2♥ -- and MIBondiola was done in fourth.
The remaining three players fought onward into the tournament's 10th hour with Mercier pushing out to a commanding lead with more than 150,000 while berserk64 fell back to just under 50,000 and Mike "SirWatts" Watson became the short stack having fell below the 15,000-chip mark.
Then with the blinds 500/1,000 it was Mercier rasing to 2,236 from the small blind, Watson shoving for 14,575 from the big blind, and Mercier calling. Both drew three cards, and when Mercier turned over K♥K♦J♣5♥2♥ for two kings it was better than Watson's pair of jacks -- J♠J♥T♠9♠4♦ -- and SirWatts bid them adieu in third.
Mercier began heads-up play well in front with a better than 3-to-1 chip lead with 166,748 versus berserk64's 48,252. The latter steadily chipped up, however, and after a half-hour's worth of hands had drawn even with Team PokerStars Pro.
That trend continued with berserk64 starting to widen the gap between the pair before Mercier battled back to retake the lead again. By the one-hour mark of their duel they were roughly even, then after 90 minutes they'd reached the tournament's 11-hour mark with berserk64 ahead again by a few big blinds.
They were approaching two hours' of heads-up when Mercier grabbed a big advantage after collecting a sequence of decent-sized pots, then a short while later was pushing up close to 170,000 while berserk64 had slipped back below 50,000.
Then with the blinds 1,000/2,000, Mercier raised to 4,000 from the button, berserk64 three-bet to 12,000, Mercier pushed all in, and after thinking a couple of beats berserk64 called with the 33,593 left behind.
berserk64 drew first and took three cards, then after pausing for several seconds Mercier likewise drew three. berserk64 showed A♣A♠J♦T♦4♠, having ended with a pair of aces, but Mercier had A♥J♣J♥4♣4♦ for two pair to win the pot, the title, and his second SCOOP watch in two nights.
Congratulations to Jason Mercier for another SCOOP "High" win versus another one of the tougher fields the series will feature. The win also catapults Mercier well ahead of the pack in the SCOOP Player of the Series race, with a long way still to go.
SCOOP 08-H: $2,100 NL Draw
Prize pool: $86,000
Places paid: 5
1. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (Canada) $34,400.00
2. berserk64 (Russia) $23,220.00
3. Mike "SirWatts" Watson (Canada) $12,900.00
4. MIBondiola (Argentina) $8,600.00
5. Vladimir "GVOZDIKA55" Schemelev (Russia) $6,880.00
Check the 2015 SCOOP homepage for a look at the entire 138-tournament schedule of this year's Spring Championship of Online Poker.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.