SCOOP 2017: Four hours to victory for thechips55 in Event #32-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max, Progressive KO)

PLO SCOOP tournaments are great for action, especially when they're of the short-handed variety. There's always the sense that anything could happen at any moment when a bunch of skilled players get four hole cards and pay the blinds at an accelerated pace. The final table of Event #32-H, one of SCOOP 2017's new PLO events, exemplified this by having a little bit of everything. There were three hours of deep stacks, big swings, players scattered around the globe fighting fatigue, an unintentional PSA about dealmaking, followed by an hour-long heads-up match that swung back and forth multiple times. At the end of it all Eric "thechips55" Wasserson, who just missed a Badugi win two days ago in Event #32-H, walked away with his first career COOP title.

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Wasserson came into the final table of this two-day event with the chip lead, but he had a lot of work ahead to earn the victory against this lineup:

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Seat 1: Argentin_GOd (809,217 in chips, $9,749.99 bounty)
Seat 2: thegr8str8 (946,154 in chips, $7,585.93 bounty)
Seat 3: baadger (530,060 in chips, $3,250 bounty)
Seat 4: mickl58 (687,670 in chips, $18,164.04 bounty)
Seat 5: azn_baller3 (500,412 in chips, $1,875 bounty)
Seat 6: Eric "thechips55" Wasserson (1,276,487 in chips, $5,492.18 bounty)

Past Super Tuesday finalist azn_baller3 came to the table short-stacked but scored an early double-up after opening with A♣ T♣ in the hijack seat and calling WCOOP 2011 finalist thegr8str8's re-raise to 68,000. The player from Thailand check-raised all-in for 382,412 chips with a combination flush-and-gutshot draw on the J♠ 8♣ 4♣ flop, a slim underdog against the gr8str8's eights and fours with A♥ A♠ 8♠ 4♦, and won the 908,824-chip pot with a club on the river.

That win kicked off a 30-minute stretch that left azn_baller3 holding more than half the chips in play, punctuated by the first two bounties of the final table.

baadger, a 6th Anniversary Sunday Million finalist in 2012, scored the first bounty. Holding A♥ J♠ 9♥ 9♣, baadger defended the big blind with a raise against limpers on the button and in the small blind. Argentin_GOd re-raised on the button with K♥ K♣ T♠ 2♣, called all-in for 206,251 chips total when baadger re-raised again, and hit the rail in sixth after the 9♠ on the flop gave baadger a set.

azn_baller3 claimed the other bounty three hands later after three-betting to 100,000 chips from the small blind with A♠ K♠ K♣ 5♦. Button raiser and past Super Tuesday finalist mickl58 called with A♦ Q♥ 8♥ 4♦ 512,704 chips behind and then raised all-in after azn_baller3 led with a pot-sized bet. mickl58 moved into the lead with three queens after the Q♠ came on the turn, but the Russian player's tournament ended in fifth when the 9♠ river made azn_baller3 an ace-high spade flush.

At 2.64 million chips, azn_baller3's leading chip stack was worth 264 big blinds when play resumed after the 10:55 p.m. ET break. On the other end of things were baadger and thegr8str8, just 10 big blinds apart and, more importantly, sitting in the small and big blind together every fourth hand. On the second orbit after break, the gr8str8 called a button raise by thechips55 and then called again when baadger re-raised to 140,000 in the big blind. thechips55 folded but thegr8str8 called, led with a pot-sized 315,000-chip bet, and called all-in for 70,769 more with Q♦ Q♥ J♥ T♣ for a pair of queens with an open-ended straight draw. But baadger's A♦ A♠ K♠ 9♦ had the better draw (spade flush) and pair (aces), the latter of which won out to bounce thegr8str8 in fourth.

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After exactly an hour at the table, half the field was gone and the rest was deep with stacks worth 275, 117, and 81 big blinds apiece. They played 30 minutes with an occasional big pot before a monster broke out in what had started as a limped pot between thechips55 and azn_baller3. azn_baller3 check-called 48,000 on the Q♦ T♣ 6♥ flop and another 117,000 on the T♦ turn before check-raising essentially all-in on the 5♠ river. thechips55 called with Q♣ Q♥ T♠ 4♥ for queens full of tens, taking the pot from azn_baller3's underboat with Q♠ T♥ 8♥ 5♣. Four hands later he found the other side of the coin and doubled up, hitting top set with K♣ K♦ 8♦ 6♥ to thechips55's top two pair with K♥ Q♣ T♥ 6♣.

Within a few minutes azn_baller3 had a request. "can we do a deal i'm lazy to play we so deep and its 11 am in thailand," he typed. The other two players agreed to look and within 10 minutes they'd knocked out the deal, leaving some spare cash and the title to play for. Then, as they took the break they'd missed while dealing, azn_baller3 made another request. This one was more unusual.

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"lol," typed baadger.

"lmfao wtf," typed thechips55.

In case you're wondering, the answer is no - you can't change a deal once all the players have agreed to it. But why even ask? Was it the fatigue induced by living in the Eastern Hemisphere when the SCOOP schedule is built around the day-to-day schedules of the Western Hemisphere? No, but the answer turned out to be something else thematically appropriate to high-stakes online poker. azn_baller3 had a $200 side bet with a friend that would pay him 20-to-1 if he won and 17-to-1 if he finished second. He made one final plea - "dont resume yet admin can we talk about this lol" - but the game was back up and running soon afterward.


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It turned out to be a good thing for azn_baller3 that the deal couldn't be taken back since he ended up missing out on the top two spots anyway. The fatigue that had been a factor in striking the deal in the first place didn't go away, and neither did the super-deep stacks. azn_baller3 held on in relatively strong position for the better part of an hour before two losses to thechips55 and another to baadger dropped his stack under a million chips. Things only went south after returning from the 12:55 a.m. ET break and eventually azn_baller3 ended up re-raising all-in for 231,396 chips with Q♦ Q♠ 7♠ 7♥ after baadger opened on the button. baadger called with A♦ A♥ 8♥ 8♠ and made quad eights to win the pot, killing azn_baller3's side bet but earning him $10K more than if he'd finished in third without making a deal.

Blinds were still at 10,000/20,000 so heads-up play started with thechips55's and baadger's stacks at 130 and 106 big blinds, respectively. baadger had a bounty three times bigger, though, after eliminating the player who had been chip leader for most of the final table, giving thechips55 some added incentive to hang onto the lead. He managed to maintain control for the first 20 minutes before winning a seven-figure pot. He opened for 50,000 on the button with A♣ K♦ T♠ 7♣ and 65,000 more after baadger called and then checked the 4♦ K♣ 9♥ flop. baadger check-raised to 210,000 and then, after thechips55 called and the 3♣ came on the river, bet another 270,000. thechips55 only had a pair of kings, but that beat baadger's ace-high with A♦ J♦ T♣ 6♥.

baadger struck back a few minutes later by taking away two pots with bets on the river, both on paired boards and worth a combined 1,788,000 chips. That gave the Finnish player a slim lead and things stayed close between the two players after that. Then thechips55 won two consecutive pots in similar fashion to move ahead by 1.1 million chips and closed things out with one final hand.

baadger opened the action for 84,000 on the button, then re-raised to 756,000 after thechips55 put in a third bet for 252,000. thechips55 called and, after the flop came 2♦ 5♣ 9♣, led for more than enough to cover baadger's 1,076,314 remaining chips. baadger called with K♥ Q♣ J♣ T♥ for a flush draw, a backdoor to a straight, and 43.3-percent equity against thechips55's A♠ J♠ 9♦ 5♦, which had two pairs, nines and fives. baadger got one card toward the runner-runner draw with the T♠ on the turn but the 9♥ river closed down that possibility - and by extension the tournament - by making nines full of fives for thechips55.

Congratulations to azn_baller3 and baadger for banking relatively equal shares of the deal, and to Eric "thechips55" Wasserson for outlasting a roller-coaster final table to earn that first COOP title!

SCOOP-32-H ($1,050 PL Omaha, 6-Max, Progressive KO) results
Entrants: 475
Total prize pool: $475,000 ($237,500 regular, $237,500 bounty)
Places paid: 60

1. Eric "thechips55" Wasserson (Canada) $36,393.40* + $14,190.41 in bounties
2. baadger (Finland) $33,829.02* + $17,396.46 in bounties
3. azn_baller3 (Thailand) $35,346* + $10,957.02 in bounties
4. thegr8str8 (Hungary) $17,575 + $7,585.93 in bounties
5. mickl58 (Russia) $12,587.50 + $18,164.04 in bounties
6. Argentin_GOd (Hungary) $8,075 + $9,749.99 in bounties
* - denotes results of a three-way deal (that couldn't be taken back)


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP