SCOOP 2016: Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes wins another for Brazil in Event #4-H ($2,100 NLHE)

The first two days of SCOOP 2016 have been very good for Brazilian poker players. With three titles through the first 11 events, the Southern Hemisphere powerhouse nation was already doing well. A fourth title in the 12th event became a certainty once play became heads-up in Event #4-H, as both seats were filled by Brazilians. In the end, it was Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes who outlasted Kelvin_FP:AR after cutting a deal to earn another champion's watch for Brazil.

There's hardly a phrase in any language that can get poker players to turn out more reliably than "$1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool," and turn out they did for Event #4-H. The million guarantee came and went early, and the 887 players together built a total prize pool of $1,774,000, with more than $325,000 scheduled for whoever outlasted the field. The top 99 spots paid out a minimum of $4,080.20 and ended up filled with plenty of familiar names before the end of Day 1. Among those who earned a payday were Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (87th place, $4,435), James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (76th, $4,789.80), Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb (73rd, $4,789.80), Andrija "cynicalfish" Martic (48th, $6,031.60), and Tomas "T 54 T 97s" Paiva (43rd, $6,031.60).

Team Pro's Jake Cody carried on to Day 2 but finished up early (23rd place, $8,870), as did Praytush "Shane Gamble" Buddiga (21st, $8,870) and Martin "nizmo jiz" Kozlov (19th, $8,870). By 9:40pm ET the last nine players were ready to begin the three-hour journey to the tournament's end:

Seat 1: MB TREMENDO (929,293 in chips)
Seat 2: Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky (935,424 in chips)
Seat 3: Ivan "BanicIvan" Banic (796,695 in chips)
Seat 4: Kelvin_FP:AR (1,319,529 in chips)
Seat 5: Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes (4,126,023 in chips)
Seat 6: Chance "ChanceCU" Kornuth (5,109,270 in chips)
Seat 7: BeerAndCoke (1,325,769 in chips)
Seat 8: Subv (766,382 in chips)
Seat 9: SeeYouAnte18 (2,431,615 in chips)

2016 SCOOP-04-H ft.jpg

It took 34 hands to see the first player eliminated, spanning from the 16K/32K/4K level at the beginning, through the entire 20K/40K/5K level, and on to 25K/50K/6.25K. Nobody else at the table saw their stack go up, but 2012 SCOOP winner and 2014 WCOOP finalist Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky climbed from 935K to 3.05M, winning three different pots worth more than 1,000,000 chips, making him the only player at the table to win more than one such pot in the early going. Only the first of those - holding A♦ Q♠ on a board of T♦ 2♣ 9♦ Q♣ 7♣ for 1.24M chips - required a showdown.

Finally, Ivan "BanicIvan" Banic, who had watched his stack lose a third of its value through blinds and antes, opened all-in for 502K, holding A♥ K♦. The action got to the small blind and Subv re-shoved to isolate. The tactic worked and Subv's 6♦ 6♠ got heads-up as a small favorite, eventually turning into a seven-high straight tot ake the 1.11M-chip pot when the board ran out 3♥ 5♥ 4♣ T♠ 7♦. With that, BanicIvan exited in 9th place ($23,062).

Subv picked up 9♦ 9♥ on the very next hand but couldn't win a second straight race, losing out to the all-in BeerAndCoke's A♠ T♣ to drop right back to 405K. Subv was chipped down to under 242K before picking up A♦ 3♥ in the big blind and calling all-in against a BeerAndCoke raise from the small blind. It was a steal attempt with T♠ 2♦, and a pair of treys on the river gave Subv a double back to 535K.

The next big blind saw Subv pick up another small ace, this time A♣ 5♦, and raise all-in after a button opener from 2013 SCOOP winner Chance "ChanceCU" Kornuth. Kornuth called with K♥ Q♣ and ran down a king-high straight on the river of the 6♥ 9♣ J♥ A♦ T♣ board, sending Subv to the rail in 8th place ($39,028).

That gave Kornuth the lead at 6.18M chips. Sulsky quickly cut into it for his fourth seven-figure win of the final table, raising under the gun and then calling Kornuth's late-position re-raise before check-raising all-in on the 9♥ Q♣ 7♥ flop to take the 1.81M-chip pot without showdown. Kornuth struck back with a 1.55M-chip win of his own three hands later, getting value from SeeYouAnte18 with leading bets on the T♠ 3♠ 6♦ flop and 2♦ turn before firing all-in on the 5♥ river to take the pot.

2015 SCOOP winner and MicroMillions 8 champ Kelvin_FP:AR got in on the action too, re-raising all-in for 815K from the button on the next hand with K♠ Q♥ and topping Sulsky's 4♣ 4♦ with a full house when the board came 2♠ Q♣ 7♦ 2♦ Q♠. Then MB TREMENDO did the same to Kornuth, re-raising all-in with J♠ J♦ in the small blind and holding up on a 8♥ T♠ 9♣ 5♠ 4♠ board to beat Kornuth's A♦ J♥ and double to 2.56M.

Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

One orbit later SeeYouAnte18, a Sunday Warm-Up finalist last week and twice a SCOOP finalist, picked up A♥ T♦ in the hijack seat and opened the betting by moving all-in for 813K. Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes, a Super Tuesday winner back in 2014, called in the big blind with A♣ K♣, caught a king on the flop, and never looked back. The board ran out 3♠ 5♦ K♦ 8♠ Q♣, and SeeYouAnte18 waved goodbye in 7th place ($56,768).

Chance Kornuth didn't have similar luck with Big Slick a few hands later, and Kelvin_FP:AR was the beneficiary. The Brazilian opened for 135K, a bit more than the minimum, and kicked off a raising war that ended with Kornuth calling Kelvin_FP:AR's all-in four-bet for 1.62M. Kelvin_FP:AR held 7♦ 7♠ and had to dodge so many outs after the Q♦ T♦ 5♦ flop that the made hand was actually a 41.1-percent underdog to win after starting off the favorite. But the 4♣ turn and 9♥ river were safe, and Kelvin_FP:AR dragged the largest pot of the final table so far at 3.38M chips.

GM_VALTER didn't have to work quite as hard for the next pot to weigh in as the largest. After flopping a ten-high straight on the button with 9♥ 7♥, Moraes flat-called MB TREMENDO's 270K bet to keep the pot three-way with Kelvin_FP:AR. Then he got value from MB TREMENDO on the 9♠ turn and A♥ river, showing down the straight to drag the 4.73M-chip pot.

BeerAndCoke doubled up a few hands later after three-betting all-in with A♠ A♥ against Kornuth's A♣ Q♠, but Ben Sulsky wouldn't fare as well two hands after that with his own big pair against A-Q. After opening for a modest 175K and seeing Kelvin_FP:AR re-raise to 455K on the button, Sulsky mulled his decision for a bit and then shoved for 1.86M. Kelvin_FP:AR called with A♥ Q♣, looking for three outs, and caught one on the A♠ J♣ 8♠ flop. Faint hope of a back-door flush or straight materializing was dashed on the J♦ turn, and Kelvin_FP:AR scooped up the 3.88M chips in play after the 7♠ river to send Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky out in 6th place ($74,508).


The last five players were led by the last two Brazilians in the tournament:

Seat 1: MB TREMENDO (830,546 in chips)
Seat 4: Kelvin_FP:AR (5,311,177 in chips)
Seat 5: GM_VALTER (6,993,086 in chips)
Seat 6: ChanceCU (2,424,895 in chips)
Seat 7: BeerAndCoke (2,180,296 in chips)

2016 SCOOP-04-H ft five-handed.jpg

Not content just to hold down the top spots, the two looked to close out the rest of the international competition and make the final all-Brazilian. And with a little help from the deck, they cleared two-thirds of it relatively quickly.

Already the leader, GM_VALTER got richer at MB TREMENDO's expense thanks to a pair-over-pair cooler. Moraes held Q♦ Q♥ and caught top set on the flop, sinking 6♥ 6♣ and, by extension, MB TREMENDO in 5th place ($92,248).

Kelvin_FP:AR followed up with another pair-over-pair cooler, but the action all came after the flop. The Brazilian held 7♣ 7♦ on the button and raised the minimum to 140K, drawing calls from ChanceCU in the small blind and BeerAndCoke in the big blind to put 455K in the middle. The 5♦ K♣ 7♠ flop gave Kelvin_FP:AR middle set, but it also made bottom set for BeerAndCoke's 5♣ 5♥. Kelvin_FP:AR flat-called BeerAndCoke's check-raise to 533K, then moved all-in for 3M after BeerAndCoke led for 722K on the 3♦ turn. The Q♠ didn't make quads for BeerAndCoke, sending the Swedish player out in 4th place ($132,163).

Game of skill, game of Chance

That 7.34M-chip win put the two Brazilian players within one big blind of one another as three-handed play began. They talked deal after the break leading up to midnight ET, but Kornuth wanted more than ICM so the negotiations were cut off genially and play resumed. With the blinds and antes still at 35K/70K/8.75K even Kornuth's shortest stack was worth 38 big blinds, leaving plenty of poker to be played.

For the better part of an hour Kornuth made a highly entertaining game out of it, climbing as high as 4.05M after an early loss to GM_VALTER and a few rounds of blinds and antes had cut him down to 717K. For most of that time Kelvin_FP:AR and GM_VALTER traded the lead back and forth. GM_VALTER threatened to pull away after taking down 11 of 12 pots to climb to 10.6M, but Kornuth caught two aces on the flop with A♥ 9♦ to crack his T♠ T♦ and stay in the game.

2016 SCOOP-04-H ft three-handed.jpg

From there the three players split the next 25 pots roughly equally, but GM_VALTER tended to win the more valuable ones. Then another one of those pair-over-pair situations popped up and changed the balance of power. Kornuth open-limped with J♦ J♥ and then re-raised all-in for 1.37M after GM_VALTER raised to 400K in the big blind. Moraes made the call with K♦ K♣, the board fell 6♠ 5♠ 2♦ Q♠ 3♦, and Chance "ChanceCU" Kornuth bowed out in 3rd place ($175,626).

Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes held better than a 2-to-1 chip lead over his compatriot Kelvin_FP:AR as heads-up play began, and the two quickly agreed to talk about another potential deal. Within five minutes they had agreed on their respective shares and to leave $20,000 on the table, so play resumed - and it didn't take long to conclude.

2016 SCOOP-04-H ft hu.jpg

An all-Brazilian final

Eight hands after Chance Kornuth's departure, GM_VALTER opened for 200K on the button with 9♠ 6♥, Kelvin_FP:AR called with T♥ 8♣ in the big blind, and things escalated quickly when the flop came 7♣ 6♠ 9♣. A check-raise, a three-bet, an all-in shove, and a call - just like that, Kelvin_FP:AR was all-in with a ten-high straight and an 82.3-percent chance to win the pot with two cards to come. Unfortunately that percentage dropped to zero when the 6♦ hit the turn, giving GM_VALTER a full house, sixes full of nines. The 3♥ came on the river, and the tournament came to its end.

After nearly 10 and a half hours of play on Day 2, two Brazilians had come out on top of Event #4-H. With the shorter stack at deal-making time, Kelvin_FP:AR took home $256,297.51 for 2nd place. And with the extra $20,000 on the table, Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes earned a total of $301,625.49, plus a SCOOP champion's watch. Congratulations to both players for adding significantly to Brazil's most impressive first day of play during SCOOP 2016!

SCOOP-04-H ($2,100 NL Hold'em) results
Total prize pool: $1,774,000
Places paid: 99

1. Rafael "GM_VALTER" Moraes (Brazil) $301,625.49*
2. Kelvin_FP:AR (Brazil) $256,297.51*
3. Chance "ChanceCU" Kornuth (Mexico) $175,626
4. BeerAndCoke (Sweden) $132,163
5. MB TREMENDO (Uruguay) $92,248
6. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky (Canada) $74,508
7. SeeYouAnte18 (United Kingdom) $56,768
8. Subv (Canada) $39,028
9. Ivan "BanicIvan" Banic (Croatia) $23,062
*Reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $20,000 in play for the winner

Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.
Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP