SCOOP 2016: Keep3r holds off Päffchen with late run in Event #10-M ($109 NLHE)

We're living in a brave new world in 2016. With the wide variety of poker variants, tournament structures, and speeds on offer during SCOOP, a straight-up no-limit hold'em tournament feels a little bit different. Like when your favorite basketball team wears throwback jerseys - hopefully without the short shorts - Event #10-M's final table was a reminder of what a final table used to be like, slow-moving (by today's standards) but ultimately a contest of both skill and endurance. Like those no-limit freezeouts of yore, this final saw hours of lead changes, unsinkable short stacks, and heartbreaking turns of fortune - even after a deal had already been struck between the two experienced players who navigated their way through the field.

Play in Event #10-M began on Tuesday at 1pm ET, drawing a field of 5,085 players for a total prize pool of $508,500. The top 675 players would cash for at least $172.89, with $79,774.56 set aside for first place. Jason "jcarverpoker" Somerville (538th place, $188.14) represented Team PokerStars Pro in the payouts, and Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen (210th, $305.10) did the same for Team Online, but neither was able to make it through to the end of Level 28, when play ended for Day 1.

Day 2 kicked off at 1pm and took close to seven hours to eliminate six tables' worth of players. Once LocoVitto was knocked out in 10th place, this lineup was set to chase down the champion's watch:

Seat 1: Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann (9,555,240 in chips)
Seat 2: s3c3_1978 (2,659,558 in chips)
Seat 3: Mihay28 (8,262,126 in chips)
Seat 4: Netinho_RJ (2,687,460 in chips)
Seat 5: Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich (2,637,166 in chips)
Seat 6: Keep3r (4,593,465 in chips)
Seat 7: unluckybs (9,264,053 in chips)
Seat 8: Cliver_FLA (10,036,204 in chips)
Seat 9: LOLDOLPHIN (1,154,728 in chips)

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All action, no knockouts

It would take 45 minutes from the beginning of the final table to the first elimination, but it wasn't for any lack of action. LOLDOLPHIN moved all-in before the flop on the second hand with K♦ Q♣ and only by the grace of a king on the turn survived against 2011 SCOOP finalist unluckybs's A♦ T♥. A turned set of sevens on the next hand gave LOLDOLPHIN the win against Cliver_FLA's flopped top pair with A♦ J♣ and some breathing room with a 3M-chip stack and blinds and antes still at 50K/100K/12.5K.

Aside from LOLDOLPHIN's early brush with tournament death, the small pots came and went quickly and the bigger pots were played out to the river and won at showdown without anybody coming close to elimination. Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich, a three-time COOP winner, including SCOOP wins in 2014 and 2015, wasn't able to make up any ground during that stretch until a piece of good luck came along, delivering the 7♠ on a the flop to make a set for his 7♦ 7♥ and beat Keep3r's 9♦ 9♥.

That win boosted Colisea's stack to 33 big blinds and dropped Keep3r's to a less comfortable 26, but Keep3r, who previously won the Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition during the WCOOP Challenge Series, got it all back two hands later. After calling a pre-flop raise to 294K with A♣ Q♦ and flatting Colisea's 263K-chip lead on the Q♣ J♣ 4♦ flop, Keep3r called when Colisea check-raised all-in on the 8♦ turn. Colisea's A♦ T♦ lost the kicker battle after the 6♥ hit the river, and suddenly he was back down to 1.2M.

Along comes the boom

LOLDOLPHIN survived all-in once again on the following hand, winning with jacks against Cliver_FLA's A♣ 8♣, and then over-shoved on the next hand with 5♣ 5♠ after Colisea opened all-in under the gun. Colisea held J♠ 8♠ but got no help from the 9♥ A♣ 6♣ K♦ Q♦ board, departing in 9th place ($4,068).

After all that struggle, the next elimination cam a relatively brief 13 minutes later. Cliver_FLA had been playing aggressively and held the chip lead when the Brazilian player opened for 292K in early position. Netinho_RJ, a MicroMillions 8 runner-up who had been mostly quiet so far at this final, dipped into the time bank before re-raising to 785K, and Cliver_FLA called to take a 4♥ 5♠ 7♠ flop in position. Netinho_RJ led for 724K there, leaving 1.58M behind, and then checked the J♥ turn. Cliver_FLA checked behind and then called when Netinho_RJ jammed on the K♠ river, showing K♣ 5♣ for two pair, kings and fives. Netinho_RJ tabled A♣ T♣ - a three-barrel bluff - and retired in 8th place ($6,356.25).

It would take 50 minutes to reach the third elimination, and Keep3r made the most of the time in between. The Austrian player picked up A♣ A♠ in the small blind, re-raised Cliver_FLA, and then played defensively on a dangerous 7♥ J♣ T♠ J♥ 5♥ board, check-calling twice before checking down the river for the 7.4M-chip win.

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Keep3r opened the betting for 382K in early position and was the only caller after unluckybs re-raised to 1M in the hijack seat. Keep3r checked the T♣ 8♦ 3♦ and thought for a bit before check-raising to 2.34M after unluckybs bet 999K. unluckybs called the check-raise and then moved all-in for 4.5M after Keep3r again checked on the 8♠ turn. Keep3r called and showed down J♣ J♥, which had the lead against unluckybs's pair of tens with K♣ T♦, and took down the 16.1M-chip pot when the 5♥ hit the river. With that, unluckybs bowed out in 7th place ($11,441.25).

Just three hands after that, Keep3r got another boost after trying to steal the big blind from Cliver_FLA. Keep3r opened all-in from the small blind with 8♥ 4♥ and Cliver_FLA called all-in for about 20 big blinds with A♦ J♣, hitting top pair on the 7♦ J♠ 6♦ flop. But the 5♣ on the turn made a straight for Keep3r, and after the K♥ came on the river, Cliver_FLA's run came to an end in 6th place ($16,526.25).

Another 13 minutes would pass before Russia's s3c3_1978 finally took a stand, moving all-in for 2.3M chips on the button with K♦ T♥. Mihay28, a SCOOP runner-up back in 2012, had Q♦ Q♠ in the small blind and called. Mihay28 took down the pot when the 2♦ 2♣ A♥ 3♠ 7♣ brought no help for s3c3_1978, who left in 5th place ($21,611.25).

Chitter-chitter-chitter means "ha ha ha"

The blinds and antes went up to 120K/240K/30K shortly afterward with just one player short-stacked:

Seat 1: Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann (10,360,258 in chips)
Seat 3: Mihay28 (12,828,543 in chips)
Seat 6: Keep3r (23,409,519 in chips)
Seat 9: LOLDOLPHIN (4,251,680 in chips)

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Just one player, perhaps, but one with an aura of invincibility. As during the early stages of the final table, so did LOLDOLPHIN grab an early win four-handed to stay competitive. The Finnish player opened for 524K with T♦ 9♦ and called when Mihay28 re-raised to 1.32M, then re-raised all-in when Mihay28 led out on the 8♠ 3♣ 7♦ flop. Mihay28 called with A♠ 7♣ and stayed ahead on the 3♦ turn before the T♣ river made a pair of tens for LOLDOLPHIN. Just like that, the Finnish player was right back in the game in second place with 10.5M chips.

Left with 5M chips, Mihay28 would bounce slightly higher before dropping again and then hitting a piece of good fortune, jamming for 4.77M with pocket eights and catching a third eight on the flop to crack Keep3r's A♠ A♦. But two orbits after that, a lost coin flip with A♣ K♦ against Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann's 4♣ 4♦ dropped the Russian player's stack to just over one big blind. Two hands later, forced in from the big blind, Mihay28 mucked at showdown and exited in 4th place ($28,730.25).


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That 43-minute gap between knockouts would actually be surpassed before another player was paid out, as it took 58 minutes more to reach heads-up play. The first 11 minutes saw LOLDOLPHIN hanging on to a short stack, Päffchen nursing the middle spot with double LOLDOLPHIN's stack, and Keep3r working the 100-big-blind stack. Then the chip leader limped on the button with A♣ 7♣, caught top pair on the 3♠ 7♥ 6♥ flop, and then got drawn into a raising war that ended with Päffchen all-in and showing 7♦ 6♦ in the big blind. That two pair held up to give Päffchen, winner of the Super Tuesday in 2015 and the Sunday Warm-Up in 2013, the 24.2M-chip pot and the chip lead.

Päffchen spent the next 30 minutes slowly increasing that stack to 35.2M, part thanks to the blinds and antes increasing to 250K/500K/62.5K to make steals more valuable. He got caught stealing with J-9 when LOLDOLPHIN had A-9 and doubled the Finnish player up, then maintained that lead for another 18 minutes before they ran into each other again. This time Päffchen flopped two pair in position with T♣ 8♥, making for an easy call when LOLDOLPHIN check-raised on the 2♥ turn. The Finnish player had hit a smaller two pair with 8♠ 2♠, and when the J♦ fell on the river, LOLDOLPHIN hit the rail in 3rd place ($41,951.25).

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After nearly four hours of final table play, the heads-up duel between two Austrians would last a mercifully short 12 minutes. A third of that time was used to settle a deal that gave Päffchen, who had the lead with 42.8M chips to Keep3r's 8M, the largest share and left $6,000 in play for the winner. Then Keep3r ran nearly perfect to grab that cash and the title, starting by winning a flip with 8♣ 8♥ against Päffchen's A♣ J♥. Flopping a straight draw with a pair of fives a few hands later kept Keep3r in long enough to catch another five on the river, good for a 9.8M-chip pot that brought the two players within 10 big blinds of each other.

Päffchen moved into a small lead on the next hand, taking down the 7.7M chips in the middle without contest after check-raising the A♦ K♠ A♠ flop and leading again on the 3♠ turn. That small lead turned out to be just big enough on the next hand when Päffchen check-raised all-in on a semi-bluff, holding 7♥ 3♥ on a 6♥ 2♥ 2♠ 5♣ flop. Keep3r called with A♥ 8♥ and three and a half big blinds behind, blocking one of Päffchen's draws and hoping to dodge the others. The 8♠ made a pair for Keep3r, and after just shy of four hours of play, one of the hardest-fought final tables of SCOOP 2016 so far came to its end.

Both players did Austrian poker proud in SCOOP's equivalent of throwback night. Päffchen couldn't add a COOP win to the Super Tuesday and Sunday Warm-Up already on his resume, but he did grab $69,464.49 as the runner-up thanks to the deal. The extra cash on the table, meanwhile, gave Keep3r $69,550.32 to go with a first career SCOOP win. Congratulations to them both for their truly impressive performances!

SCOOP-10-M ($109 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants:
 5,085
Total prize pool: $508,500
Places paid: 675

1. Keep3r (Austria) $69,550.32*
2. Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann (Austria) $69,464.49*
3. LOLDOLPHIN (Finland) $41,951.25
4. Mihay28 (Romania) $28,730.25
5. s3c3_1978 (Russia) $21,611.25
6. Cliver_FLA (Brazil) $16,526.25
7. unluckybs (Romania) $11,441.25
8. Netinho_RJ (Brazil) $6,356.25
9. Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich (Poland) $4,068
*Reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $6,000 in play for the winner


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Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP