SCOOP 2017: Russia's BIack88 wins second SCOOP with $25K High Roller title (Event #15-H $25,000 NLHE)

"In order to be the Man, you got to beat the Man. Wooooo!" said Rick Flair. The flamboyant wrestler paraphrased an common theme, no matter the time and place in history. Simply... if you wanted to be the best, then you had to beat the best.

BIack88, from Russia, was the last player standing at the end of the 2017 SCOOP Event #15-H $25,000 High Roller to secure a second-career SCOOP title. BIack88 won the final hand with pocket Aces and terminated six out of seven final table opponents. The ferociously-stacked final table of the $25K High Roller featured no less than 6 previous SCOOP champions and a couple of WCOOP winners, including bencb789, €urop€an, jdtjpoker, and the legendary stevie444, who once won 20 seats into the EPT San Remo via online qualifiers.

The first-place prize for the $25K High Roller was initially worth $751K. With two to go, BIack88 and fish2013 brokered a deal in which big-stacked BIack88 secured $662,658.75 and fish2013 locked up $569,575.65. They played for $40,000 more in cash, plus the title, and bragging rights. BIack88 quickly dispatched fish2013 with Aces on the final hand to win $702,658.75.

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The $25K High Roller was devoid of dilettantes. Even the coolsters and whales knew best to stay clear of Event #15-H. Underneath all the glitz and glamour, laid the scorched battleground featuring virtuoso ninjas, high-stakes juggernauts, battle-hardened warriors, and apex predators. No trustafarians were among today's batch of 61 high rollers.

This 8-Max High Roller had a $25K price tag with only one re-entry allowed. PokerStars added a $2 million guarantee. No worries, mon. The actual prize pool topped $3 million, fueled by 61 uniques and 32 re-entires for 93 total entries. Only the top 16 places paid out, or the final two tables.

Late on Day 1, gunning4you bubbled the money in 17th place. The first day completed with 16 players remaining. Bencb789 bagged up the most chips with 545K (and the average stack at 156K).

As soon as Day 2 began, super-short-stacked 26071985 and TUTI88 were quick casualties. Both min-cashed for $61,312.50. Within the next two levels, four more players were knocked out.

With 10 remaining, the final two tables slugged it out five-handed. bencb789 still led, but his stack shrunk to 420K. Meanwhile, mexican222 and zcedrink treaded water with marginal holdings. The mexican222 found a spot to double up with A♦J♣, but stevie444's Big Slick prevailed. With mexican222's elimination in tenth place, action went hand-for-hand.

SamRostan, a high-stakes reg from Macau, is like online poker's version of a unicorn. He's rarely seen playing live events, but a mystical force at the nosebleed tables. SamRostan bubbled off the final table of the High Roller in ninth place. He got short-stacked and failed to stave off elimination with pocket sevens against BIack88's pocket nines.

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SCOOP 25K High Roller - Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: fish2013 (171,717)
Seat 2: zcedrick (210,006)
Seat 3: jdtjpoker (172,970)
Seat 4: stevie444 (300,811)
Seat 5: €urop€an (347,020)
Seat 6: BIack88 (449,479)
Seat 7: bencb789 (461,646)
Seat 8: Apotheosis92 (386,351)

The final table commenced during Level 22 with blinds at 3K/6K and a 900 ante. The average stack was 312.5K. bencb789 continued to lead, but BIack88 was second with nearly 450K. A pair of shorties, fish2013 and jdtjpoker, held approximately 172K.

Here's a quick rundown of the final eight...

Seat 1: fish2013, a high-stakes cash game player originally from Belarus, won a SCOOP. fish2013 took third in the 50K High Roller at the 2015 WCOOP for a $595K score.

Seat 2: zcedrick won over $2.2M online, but he never binked a SCOOP. In real life, Segio Aido is a successful tournament regular in Europe, where the Spaniard won nearly $5M.

Seat 3: jdtjpoker, the American exile living in Mexico, won one WCOOP back in 2011. He's got over 10M in combined live/online earnings. He won over $7.1M online winnings. His nickname should be Mr. Tuesday, because he's the dude who shipped the Super Tuesday on four different occasions. In the live arena, the grinder has over $3.1M in live earnings, including a runner-up in a WSOP Donkament during the height of the poker boom.

Seat 4: stevie444, a British pro playing in Mexico, achieved cultural hero status when he was still a teenager. That urban legend about stevie444 winning all those WSOP Main Event seats? It's ALL true. The online phenom previously won 2 SCOOPs and WCOOP. Could Stevie Chidwick ship his third SCOOP and fourth-overall COOP?

Seat 5: €urop€an is an online legend who won a WCOOP, SCOOP, and Milly. €urop€an is a mere TCOOP win away from securing a Triple COOP and Stars Grandslam. With over $3.7M in online winnings, the Finnish player's biggest score was $358K for a third-place finish in the 2016 WCOOP 10K High Roller.

Seat 6: bIack88 won a SCOOP in 2011 and chopped another, but aside from that high-water mark, bIack88 played the role of "mysterious" token Russian at the table. Insert your Teddy KGB references here ______.

Seat 7: bencb789 won both a WCOOP and SCOOP. The Austrian chopped the 2016 WCOOP Main Event with Fedor Holz for a $1.1M score. The Germans/Austrians dominated the high-roller poker landscape over the last 2 years, it was sort of surprising to only see bencb789 as the sole representative.

Seat 8: Apotheosis92, the lone Canadian in the group, is still searching for his first SCOOP win, but he came close a few times, including finishing third in 2017 SCOOP Event #6-H, plus a runner-up in 2016 SCOOP heads-up event.


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POSITIVE VIBRATION: stevie444 eliminated in 8th place

After nearly two full levels of play without a bustout, BIack88 emerged as the new leader. Stevie444 4-bet shoved for 336,118 against big-stacked bully BIack88. The hand would have thrust stevie444 into the lead. Alas, BIack88 woke up with Q♥Q♣. Pocket Queens held up against stevie444's A♣5♣, who flopped a pair of fives, but nothing else. stevie444 became the first player to exit the final table and eighth place paid out $91,968.75. BIack88 raced toward the 1M mark.

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JOHNNY WAS: €urop€an eliminated in 7th place

The haves vs. the have-nots. Short-stacked €urop€an open-shoved for 97,221 with 7♠6♠ and BIack88 attempted a pickoff with A♠J♥. Both players hit the flop, but BIack88 led with a pair of Jacks versus a pair of fives. The turn and river did not help €urop€an, who took home $122,625.00 for seventh place. With six remaining, BIack88 passed 1M.

CRY TO ME: bencb789 eliminated in 6th place

Another bustout for BIack88... and the rich got richer. bencb789 came over the top of BIack88 and bombed it all-in for 176,042 with 7♠6♠, but BIack88 ambushed him with A♠K♥. Neither player improved and BIack88 won the pot with Ace-high. bencb789 got knocked out in sixth place and earned $153,281.25.

CRAZY BALD HEAD: jdtjpoker eliminated in 5th place

Sad tale about Ace-trey losing to Ace-nine. It's a tragic situation that occurs more often than you think. Shorty jdtjpoker made a final stand for 77,508 with A♣3♦ against BIack88's A♠9♣. Sure, jdtjpoker hit the flop and paired his trey, but BIack88 hit the flop a little harder and paired his nine. BIack88's pair of nines held up and jdtjpoker was dunzo. For fifth place, American exile jdtjpoker earned $199,265.62. BIack88 knocked out the first four players at the final table. With four remaining... BIack88 led with 1.5M, followed by Apotheosis92 (423K), fish2013 (343K) and zcedrick (234K).

NIGHTSHIFT: zcedrick eliminated in 4th place

With four to go, two big stacks emerged... Apotheosis92 and BIack88. The two shorties rumbled and zcedrick's stack got decimated after he lost a race with pocket sixes against fish2013's A♥Q♠. zcedrick busted a couple hands soon after after failing to making a stand with K♠J♥ against Apotheosis92's 5♦5♣. Neither player improved and pocket fives held up for Apotheosis92. zcedrick earned a fourth-place payday worth $275,906.25. With three to go, BIack88 led with 1.3M, followed by Apotheosis92's 1M, and malnutrioned fish2013's 183K.

RAT RACE: Apotheosis92 eliminated in 3rd place

fish2013 doubled through Apotheosis92 and the two were nearly even in chips. It was now two shorties against a mountain of chips.

Classic confrontation. Racing with pocket nines versus Big Slick. BIack88 opened, Apotheosis92 jammed for 706,211 with A♥K♠, but BIack88 called with 9♥9♦. Big Slick never improved and pocket nines held up. Canada's Apotheosis92 busted in third place, which paid out $398,531.25.

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HEADS-UP: fish2013 (Belarus) vs. BIack88 (Russia)
Seat 1: fish2013 (545,505)
Seat 6: BIack88 (1,954,495)

With two to go, BIack88 held a sizable advantage. BIack88 knocked out 5 of 6 players at the final table.

DEAL

Nearly $230K separated second-place money from the winner's share. The final two brokered a money chop. Any deal had to leave $40,000 on the table to the champion. BIack88 led 1.875M to 624K. The numbers were floated...

fish2013 $568,575.65
BIack88 $663,658.75

fish2013 asked for an extra $1K. That's not a typo. Both players agreed to the new terms with $569,575.65 going to fish2013 and $662,658.75 set aside for BIack88... plus $40K to the winner. With a deal in place, action resumed.

ROOTS, ROCK, REGGAE: fish2013 eliminated in 2nd place; BIack88 wins another SCOOP!

Once the deal was sealed, BIack88 resumed his role at dominating the final table. Going into the final hand, BIack88 led 2.18M to 313K. It was push or fold time. fish2013 shoved with 9♥8♥, but ran into BIack88's A♦A♥. Are you kidding me? Pocket Aces to win a tournament? Yup. It happened. fish2013 flopped a heart-flush draw, and turned a pair of nines, but whiffed on the river. BIack88 dodged a hailstorm of bullets to have pocket rockets hold up. BIack88 won the pot and the tournament.

Per terms of the deal, fish2013 earned $569,575.65 for a runner-up finish.

Congrats to BIack88 from Russia. First place paid out $702,658.75. BIack88 now has a pair of SCOOP titles.

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SCOOP-15-H ($25,000 NLH [8-Max, High Roller]) results
Total entries: 93 (32 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,065,625.00
Places paid: 16

1. BIack88 (Russia) $702,658.75**
2. fish2013 (Belarus) $569,575.65**
3. Apotheosis92 (Canada) $398,531.25
4. zcedrick (United Kingdom) $275,906.25
5. jdtjpoker (Mexico) $199,265.62
6. bencb789 (Austria) $153,281.25
7. €urop€an (Finland) $122,625.00
8. stevie444 (Mexico) $91,968.75
** Denotes a deal between the final two

Visit the SCOOP home page for a schedule of remaining events. Plus, find out who was in contention Player of the Series.


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Pauly McGuire is a freelance contributor to PokerStars. Final table recap album of the day: "Rastaman Vibration" by Bob Marley.

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