SCOOP 2017: caaaaamel completes comeback for $216K in Event #37-H ($2,100 NLHE, Super Tuesday SE)

The world is full of hardy creatures that adapt to thrive in harsh environments. Long ago domesticated by desert-dwelling peoples of Asia and Africa, the camel is one of these versatile creatures. And in Event #37-H, the final Super Tuesday Special Edition of SCOOP 2017, Austrian player caaaaamel was the metaphorical spitting image of that namesake. After beginning both the second day of the tournament and the final table nearly last in chips and surviving multiple all-in situations along the way, caaaaamel shared in a four-way deal before going on a late run to earn a first career COOP title.

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caaaaamel, the runner-up in both a 2013 SCOOP-Medium High Roller heads-up NLHE event and a WCOOP 2016 Super Tuesday Special Edition, survived the long desert crossing of Day 1 in 77th place out of the 85 remaining players, bringing just 10 big blinds' worth of chips back to the table for Day 2. That set up a difficult path to the title, but the slow structure allowed time for short-stacked caaaaamel to pick spots - a theme that would recur once the final table rolled around.

Lithuania's pofkia.ltu was the unlucky player to pop the final table bubble, running Q♦ Q♠ in the small blind into Kot_Spartac's A♣ A♦ in the big. That left caaaaamel and these eight others with a chance to win the title:

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Seat 1: caaaaamel (331,887 in chips)
Seat 2: Strz (186,909 in chips)
Seat 3: Ryan "i need sheet" Yu (220,743 in chips)
Seat 4: Balazs "birs320" Botond (651,693 in chips)
Seat 5: etxnl01 (1,333,408 in chips)
Seat 6: Kot_Spartac (767,216 in chips)
Seat 7: Go0se.core! (1,954,896 in chips)
Seat 8: makeboifin (1,210,927 in chips)
Seat 9: LLinusLLove (1,052,321 in chips)

They played a single hand before taking the 8:54 p.m. ET break and then got down to business with blinds and antes at 6,000/12,000/1,500.

Finland's Strz was appearing at a second SCOOP 2017 final table, after finishing eighth in Event #19-H, but improving on that finish in this tournament proved too difficult thanks to a short stack. Strz got in as a small favorite after defending the big blind with K♥ 9♥. etxnl01, who won more than $200,000 in a SCOOP Progressive Super Knockout event last year and took third in this year's Event #08-H, raised in early position with Q♥ J♥ and then called when Strz check-raised all-in for 129,409 chips on the 2♥ T♣ 9♦ flop. etxnl missed the straight draw but a pair of queens after the Q♣ turn and 4♠ river was good enough to eliminate Strz in ninth.

Ryan "i need sheet" Yu has been a serial finalist in major PokerStars tournaments for the last several years now. He's shown up at COOP final tables all over the calendar since 2015, success that has built on second- and third-place finishes in the Super Tuesday in December 2014. When he moved in with Q♠ T♥, he ended up splitting the pot with Go0se.core!, a PokerStars All Stars Season 1 cash game invitee who made two Super Tuesday finals late last year and also held Q♥ T♠. Yu stole the blinds and antes once beyond that but otherwise wasn't able to build his stack into something workable.

After 40 minutes of watching his stack dwindle while Go0se.core!, makeboifin, and etxnl01 won pots worth of dozens of big blinds, Yu defended the big blind all-in for 106,343 with A♦ 9♣. Original raiser caaaaamel had a slim edge with 3♥ 3♠. The pair held as the board fell 5♦ 2♥ J♠ 8♥ Q♥ and Yu left in eighth.

That elimination took care of the first hour of play, and the second nearly opened with another knockout when SCOOP 2016 finalist Kot_Spartac picked up A♥ K♣, opened small under the gun, and then moved all-in after makeboifin three-bet to 92,160. makeboifin quickly called the raise to 594,778 with K♦ K♥ but lost out thanks to the A♠ on the flop.

The Finnish player's stack only dropped from there with the big stacks controlling play, until finally 9♥ 9♠ came along under the gun. makeboifin raised to 36,000, leaving almost 320,000 behind, and got calls from etxnl01 on the button and Go0se.core! in the big blind. Go0se.core! checked and then folded after makeboifin bet 49,188 and etxnl01 raised another 90,000 on top of that. makeboifin moved all-in with 57.4-percent equity against etxnl01's A♦ 6♦ but fell in seventh when the 3♦ river made the Dutch player a diamond flush.


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caaaaamel had avoided that same fate just a few hands earlier, surviving a coin flip with T♣ T♥ against Kot_Spartac's A♣ J♥ for a double to 538,260 chips. Over the next 90 minutes the Austrian player selectively took advantage of opportunities to pick up pots and slowly climbed the leaderboard, eventually moving to within 10 big blinds of both extnl01 and Go0se.core!, who were both just over 1.8 million in chips.

The co-leaders then clashed heads-up in a pot that spurred the action. Go0se.core! opened to 51,600 in the hijack seat with J♠ 7♠ and etxnl01 called in the big blind, bringing a 9♦ 5♠ T♦ flop. etxnl01 check-called 66,000 there, another 171,444 on the K♣ turn, and 411,255 more on the 3♣ river, all with T♥ 8♣ for a bare pair of tens. That was good enough to take down the 1.43 million-chip pot.

Two hands later caaaaamel opened for 51,120 in the hijack seat, holding A♥ J♦, and was re-raised to 564,773 on the button by Eureka Poker Tour Prague champ and past Sunday Million winner Balazs "birs320" Botond. caaaaamel was the only caller and beat birs320's 8♥ 8♦ thanks to a jack on the flop, busting birs320 in sixth.

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The short stacks were in no hurry to collect their paychecks, though, and for nearly an hour and a half the identity of the next bustout remained unknown. WCOOP 2016 8-Max High Roller finalist and PokerStars All Stars Season 1 cash game invitee LLinusLLove fared survived with 8♥ 8♠ against Kot_Spartac's A♦ K♠ for a double to 1.29 million chips. Kot_Spartac got that back from caaaaamel a few minutes later, doubling with A♣ 4♠ against T♣ 9♥ with an ace on the flop. And then Go0se.core! defended the big blind with K♦ 3♠ and check-called small bets the whole way as the board fell Q♠ 3♥ J♣ K♠ 2♥, winning a 1.68-million-chip pot from button raiser etxnl01's A♥ 8♣.

LLinusLLove looked likely to keep the streak going after returning from the 12:55 a.m. ET break. The Austrian player open-shoved for 699,865 chips in the small blind with A♥ T♠ and had 71.2-percent equity when caaaaamel called in the big blind with A♠ 7♦. Then the flop came 3♠ 7♥ 9♠ and made a pair of sevens for caaaaamel. A ten would have saved LLinusLLove, but the 5♠ and 2♥ came instead to bust the Austrian in fifth.

With close to four and a half hours of final table play already in the books and still-deep stacks promising a long night ahead, the remaining four players were eager to look at the numbers for a deal so they could speed up play. Soon enough the deal was in place and caaaaamel picked up A♦ K♦ in the small blind. The Austrian player limped in, then re-raised to 358,007 when etxnl01 raised to 108,000 in the big blind, and finally called all-in for 1.86 million chips total when etxnl01 jammed. etxnl01's A♠ Q♦ got no help on the 2♥ 2♠ 3♣ 2♣ 6♣ board, making caaaaamel the new chip leader.

caaaaamel limp-called another etxnl01 raise on the next small blind, this time for 108,000 with 8♠ 4♠, and checked a 9♠ 2♣ 3♠ flop. etxnl01 then checked behind, giving caaaaamel a free card to hit a spade flush on the Q♠ turn. Check-calling there and then leading for three-quarters of the pot earned caaaaamel the win after the A♦ river, leaving etxnl01 with 23 big blinds' worth of chips. That all went in on the Dutch player's next small blind with K♣ 9♣, and Kot_Spartac called and won unimproved with 7♣ 7♠ to knock out etxnl01 in fourth.

caaaaamel's share of the total chips in play kept growing. The only question at this point was which player would begin heads-up play with the shorter stack against caaaaamel. Go0se.core! earned that right in three quick steps.

The first step involved re-raising all-in before the flop with T♥ T♠ and doubling through caaaaamel's K♥ Q♥ with a jack-high straight. The second saw Go0se.core! flop two pair in the big blind with 6♥ 3♥ and make value bets there, on the 2♥ turn, and again on the K♦ river. Kot_Spartac check-called them all and then mucked with 849,897 chips left. Two hands later the Russian player defended the big blind with A♥ 8♦ against Go0se.core!'s A♦ Q♣, losing out on kickers when the board fell J♠ A♠ A♣ 7♠ 9♣ to leave in third.

After such a long journey, the possibility of a conclusion might have looked like a mirage. Then caaaaamel closed out the tournament on the following hand after opening all-in on the button with J♠ 2♠. Go0se.core! called with K♠ 9♣ and the edge, but the 7♣ 3♦ J♦ 5♦ 7♥ gave caaaaamel a pair of jacks to wrap this event up.

Such an unlikely path to the title would have been satisfying for any poker player, but perhaps it was more so for caaaaamel, who had previously finished in second place in both a SCOOP event and in a WCOOP Super Tuesday Special Edition. Congratulations to caaaaamel not just for overcoming long odds to win this tournament, but for following up those previous successes with the victory tonight.

SCOOP-37-H ($2,100 NL Hold'em, Super Tuesday Special Edition) results
Entrants: 771
Total prize pool: $1,542,000
Places paid: 99

1. caaaaamel (Austria) $216,875.01*
2. Go0se.core! (Austria) $175,000*
3. Kot_Spartac (Russia) $157,413.79*
4. etxnl01 (Netherlands) $203,207.20*
5. LLinusLLove (Austria) $80,184
6. Balazs "birs320" Botond (Malta) $64,764
7. makeboifin (Finland) $49,344
8. Ryan "i need sheet" Yu (Canada) $33,924
9. Strz (Finland) $20,046
* - denotes results of a four-way deal that left $20,000 for the winner


The home stretch of SCOOP 2017 is here. Get in on the action. Click here to open your PokerStars account today!

Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

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