SCOOP 2016: FLBonatto's second chance good for $46K in Event #16-M ($109 NLHE, Progressive Super-KO)

As anyone who's been paying even the slightest attention knows, Brazilians got off to a great start during SCOOP 2016, winning four early titles and several more since. Past Sunday Warm-Up finalist FLBonatto was in position to become one of them. Then came a nightmare scenario at the final table of SCOOP 2016 Event #4-M where pocket aces went from big favorite for a monster pot to a 6th-place bust when the board made three of a kind for the other player's K-J. Tonight, FLBonatto got a rare second chance and made the most of the opportunity - though not before surviving a major scare at the hands of a determined and resourceful opponent.

The Day 1 field for Event #16-M came in at 5,980 players, building a $5,980,000 prize pool split down the middle between bounties on everyone's head and payouts for the top 765 finishers. They played 28 levels before pausing for the night, with Team PokerStars Pro's own Chen-An Lin among them. He stayed in the top 10 for much of the early going after Day 2 kicked off at 1pm ET and even flirted with chip lead briefly. Eventually, though, he fell just short of a chance at the title in 14th place, earning a $1,330.35 payout and another $2,406.48 in bounties.

Not long after Lin's elimination, Sweden's TanTanSWE won a significant pot to break the bubble. The Swede's K♣ K♠ held up against noeschi's A♦ Q♥ and muggsyboges's A♣ J♥ in a three-way pot. muggsyboges was left with 406K - a little more than three big blinds - but noeschi exited in 10th place ($1,779.05, plus $2,681.20 in bounties). With that, these nine players got the last leg of the tournament underway at 8:16pm ET:

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Seat 1: schamixx (8,482,581 in chips)
Seat 2: TanTanSWE (9,201,078 in chips)
Seat 3: Christ1508 (4,322,568 in chips)
Seat 4: FLBonatto (3,337,232 in chips)
Seat 5: muggsyboges (406,193 in chips)
Seat 6: Dan "Danny98765" Smith (9,998,330 in chips)
Seat 7: AzEsmLolli (2,175,120 in chips)
Seat 8: trzcinsky (11,763,462 in chips)
Seat 9: Alex "lynskey99" Lynskey (10,113,436 in chips)

Like the NBA player the WCOOP 2014 finalist's screen name comes from, muggsyboges' stack was quite short compared to everyone else in the game after that bubble hand. The Canadian player opened the action on the second hand of the final table by moving all-in for 376K, just a touch over three big blinds, with K♥ 7♣. That was dominated by lynskey99's K♠ Q♥, and when neither player improved on the 6♥ A♦ 8♥ 9♠ J♦ board, muggsyboges dribbled away in 9th place ($2,392.00 + $1,983.98 in bounties).

Christ1508's stack had been worth 36 big blinds when the final table began on the 60K/120K/15K level. Between making two bets and folding on the turn of the table's first hand, paying out blinds and antes through two full levels, and being unable to pick up a big win, the Brazilian was down to 2.7M and just 17 big blinds. Holding A♣ 5♣ in the small blind, Christ1508 three-bet for all of those chips after schamixx opened for 336K in the cutoff. schamixx called with A♠ 8♣ and caught two pair on the 2♠ A♥ 8♥ flop, leaving just a 3.7-percent chance to find new life with a runner-runner straight. The 2♥-4♠ turn and river didn't do the trick, and Christ1508 checked out in 8th place ($3,737.50 + $2,273.34 in bounties).

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That win left schamixx just a few big blinds behind trzcinsky for the chip lead, and the Austrian player looked a good value to lock it up tight after calling a raise in the small blind with A♦ T♦ and flopping two pair. schamixx check-raised and then called when FLBonatto made it three bets and 7.5M to go with A♥ K♦. Big Slick had just a 15.4-percent chance to win the hand there, but after the K♥ came on the turn the chance of losing fell to just one in 20. The 7♥ on the river gave FLBonatto the 16.6M-chip pot and left schamixx with 2.7M. But schamixx immediately doubled through lynskey99 and was right back in the game.

The next bustout came not from a short stack desperately trying to stave off elimination, but from Dan "Danny98765" Smith trying to seize an opporunity to build a stack. FLBonatto opened the hand for 462K in the cutoff and Smith, whose mile-long resume includes past TCOOP, Sunday Million, and Super Tuesday wins, called on the button with A♠ 5♠. trzcinsky came along from the big blind with 6♣ 2♣ and led for 897K after making a six-high straight on the 3♠ 4♠ 5♥ flop. That chased FLBonatto away but Smith raised to 2.2M and called after trzcinsky made it three bets all-in. He was 39.7 percent to win on the flop, but the Q♦ turn and 4♣ river were no help and Smith hit the rail in 7th place ($6,727.50 + $2,515.39 in bounties).

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After almost an hour of half of poker, the field was down by three and trzcinsky and FLBonatto were separated by just a fraction of an ante at the top of the leaderboard with 15.3M chips each, with Sweden's TanTanSWE in third at 10.5M. A past Sunday Warm-Up finalist and three-time Super Tuesday finalist with one SCOOP 2016 final table already on the resume, TanTanSWE was looking to improve on a fifth-place finish in Event #7-H. But after losing three pots in the blinds, the Swedish player was in the small blind once again with 4.6M left, 4.3M in the pot, and a 6♦ J♠ 7♣ A♥ board with 5♦ 4♦ in the hole. Having checked and induced a 1.1M-chip bet from trzcinsky, TanTanSWE now raised all-in on the semi-bluff. trzcinsky called immediately with 7♦ 7♥ for a set of sevens and won with a full house on the J♣ river, and TanTanSWE exited in 6th place ($9,717.50 + $2,475.73 in bounties).

Alex "lynskey99" Lynskey, the MicroMillions 7 winner whose past final table appearance include WCOOP 2014 , Sunday Warm-Up, and two Super Tuesdays, was pinned between schamixx and trzcinsky now, and with a shorter stack to boot. An opening finally came after trzcinsky folded in the cutoff, and lynskey99 opened all-in for 3.8M with K♦ J♥. Chip leader FLBonatto called as a 55.9-percent favorite with T♦ T♥ in the big blind and got the pair to hold up on a Q♠ 8♥ A♣ Q♦ 4♥ board, sending lynskey99 out in 5th place ($12,707.50 + $3,308.30 in bounties).

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Already comfortably in the lead with 26.4M, FLBonatto added a little more four hands later after opening with Q♣ 8♣ and having AzEsmLolli three-bet with 4♥ 4♠ on the button. FLBonatto raised again and AzEsmLolli called all-in, just missing a flush and losing to a pair of queens after the board came 6♥ 3♥ Q♥ 5♦ A♠. With that, AzEsmLolli finished in 4th place ($16,893.50 + $845.68 in bounties).

After two hours and 17 minutes of poker, the blinds and antes were at 150K/300K/17.5K and the final table had been reduced to three players with plenty of chips. FLBonatto led the way with 28.3M, with trzcinsky at 17.2M and schamixx about 10 big blinds behind that. There was room to play three-handed, and everyone took advantage where they could for the next hour. trzcinsky won an early pot worth 9.3M from FLBonatto, calling bets before and after the 8♥ A♣ J♠ flop before raising on the T♣ turn to run FLBonatto off. That left schamixx stuck between the two big stacks where the Austrian player fought to win a fair share of the pots but couldn't find any real traction. After 50 minutes schamixx finally found a spot to get in as a favorite, moving all-in for 8.1M from the small blind with A♥ 8♠ and getting a call from FLBonatto with K♠ Q♣. But FLBonatto took the pot with a pair of queens after the board came 9♣ T♣ Q♦ 5♥ 6♠, and schamixx was gone in 3rd place ($24,667.50 + $6,684.58 in bounties).

Slaying the phoenix

FLBonatto had been in a similar situation not long ago in Event #4-M, holding the chip lead with six players left, only to lose a monster pot with pocket aces against K-J. Now it was just one opponent to get past, with FLBonatto holding 45M chips to trzcinsky's 14.7M. So when trzcinsky suggested they chop the money down the middle or "I'll rise like a phoenix," the Brazilian was having none of it and play resumed with the scheduled prizes on the line.

That casual remark looked for some time like it might turn into a second straight SCOOP disappointment for FLBonatto, starting nine minutes in when trzcinsky limped on the button and then three-bet all-in with A♣ 5♣ after FLBonatto raised in the big blind with A♦ J♣. trzcinsky went from being a 2-to-1 underdog to a 99.5-percent favorite on the 5♠ 5♥ 9♥ flop, and that 23M-chip pot was the start the Polish player needed to extend the heads-up portion of play to an hour and 40 minutes.

FLBonatto remained ahead by that margin until just after the midnight ET break. trzcinsky called a raise out of position and then another FLBonatto bet on the 8♠ A♠ T♠ flop before coming over the top of FLBonatto's stab at the 5♦ turn. trzcinsky took down the 16.7M-chip pot right there and was the new chip leader - only by three big blinds, but still the leader. More of that aggression out of position four hands later led to another win on the turn when FLBonatto folded, and a failed two-barrel bluff in a small pot a few hands after that had the Brazilian reeling with just 17.3M chips.

trzcinsky was on the verge of landing a knockout blow. Then came a min-raise on the button, a call, and an action flop that left the opening. trzcinsky had almost every draw in the deck with J♠ 9♠ on the T♠ K♣ 8♠ flop, enough to be a slim favorite over FLBonatto's two pair, tens and eights, with T♥ 8♦. The J♣ turn muddied the picture to exactly 50-50 as a bigger two pair became another winning possibility for trzcinsky, but FLBonatto caught a break - and the 34.7M-chip pot - when the harmless 2♥ fell on the river.

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The return to the chip lead was brief, but FLBonatto was back in the game. For 25 minutes the Brazilian fought a battle of attrition as trzcinsky put the pressure back on, reclaimed the lead, and whittled FLBonatto's stack back under 20M again. Then FLBonatto flopped trips and rivered a full house, getting value from a check-raise to move into a small lead before rivering two pair out of position in another pot and getting paid on a 6M-chip bet.

After all that, FLBonatto was back in the driver's seat with 42M chips. trzcinsky was anything but out and won several large pots after that point, but by the next break FLBonatto was still in the lead with 43.5M. Three minutes after they came back both players would make a pair on a 6♠ 8♣ T♥ flop. trzcinsky went for the check-raise with K♠ 6♥ and needed another king or six after FLBonatto called with A♥ T♦. Neither the 2♠ turn nor the A♣ river fit the bill, and the hard-fought duel came to its conclusion.

trzcinsky's effort earned the Polish player $34,833.50 for second place, plus another $6,231.30 in bounties. As for FLBonatto, the memories of Event #4-M were brought back vivdly before being vanquished by the soothing balm of a SCOOP champion's watch, the winner's prize of $46,772.57, and an extra $9,620.07 in bounties. Kudos to both players for putting on a very entertaining show and earning every penny of their prizes.

SCOOP-16-M ($109 NL Hold'em, Progressive Super-Knockout) results
Total prize pool: $598,000 ($299,000 regular prize pool, $299,000 bounty prize pool)
Places paid: 765

1. FLBonatto (Brazil) $46,772.57 + $9,620.07 in bounties
2. trzcinsky (Poland) $34,833.50 + $6,231.30 in bounties
3. schamixx (Austria) $24,667.50 + $6,684.58 in bounties
4. AzEsmLolli (Russia) $16,893.50 + $845.68 in bounties
5. Alex "lynskey99" Lynskey (Australia) $12,707.50 + $3,308.30 in bounties
6. TanTanSWE (Sweden) $9,717.50 + $2,475.73 in bounties
7. Dan "Danny98765" Smith (Canada) $6,727.50 + $2,515.39 in bounties
8. Christ1508 (Brazil) $3,737.50 + $2,273.34 in bounties
9. muggsyboges (Canada) $2,392.00 + $1,983.98 in bounties

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Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP