SCOOP 2017: SamSquid squeezes past three Brazilians in Event #27-H ($1,050 NLO8, 8-Max)

Sam "SamSquid" Grafton has banked some significant SCOOP cashes in the past, winning $234K back in 2012 and another $153K in 2013. Coming into this evening he had never won a COOP title, and his opportunity to make it happen this time was a difficult one. But after a grueling final table against a lineup of skilled and accomplished opponents - and a whopping 77 minutes of heads-up No-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo - he is now officially a SCOOP 2017 champion.


Event #27-H champion Sam "SamSquid" Grafton

Players from the United Kingdom and Brazil have performed exceptionally well so far during SCOOP 2017, making a combined 98 final table appearances and capturing 18 titles between them. (Only Russia and Canada are in the same league so far during SCOOP 2017.) Both countries sent multiple representatives through to Day 2 of of Event #27-H, a $1,050 8-Max NLO8 event new to this year's SCOOP schedule, with three Brazilians and five Brits making it into the top 27.

Two of the players from the U.K. found their way to the rail early on but the other three, and all the Brazilians, progressed through to the final eight. Even with the loss on the bubble of Juicy_J_93 - the runner-up earlier this week in Event #7-H, a $2,100 6-max NLO/8 tourney - the lineup was deep in both Omaha and final table experience:


Seat 1: Richard "CHUFTY" Ashby (281,319 in chips)
Seat 2: Sam "SamSquid" Grafton (630,025 in chips)
Seat 3: robc1978 (80,682 in chips)
Seat 4: Internett93o (504,786 in chips)
Seat 5: Brian "brianm15" England (189,888 in chips)
Seat 6: João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten (186,356 in chips)
Seat 7: Antonio7 (344,391 in chips)
Seat 8: Bernardo "bedias" Dias (412,553 in chips)

The first hour of final table play saw no knockouts, but there were double-ups for WCOOP 2010 6-max PLO champ Richard "CHUFTY" Ashby, who finished fourth in Event #22-H (FLO/8) yesterday, and past Super Tuesday winner João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten, who took fourth in Event #4-H earlier this week.

Toward the end of that stretch robc1978 was quartered in a pot with brianm15 and reduced to 16,293 chips before scooping three different pots to climb to 91,172. After folding for most of the next orbit, robc1978 opened all-in with A♣ Q♣ 6♣ 2♥ and only Bernardo "bedias" Dias, the past Sunday Million and Super Tuesday winner who held A♦ Q♥ 4♥ 3♠, made the call. It was close to a true coin flip both before and after the J♣ T♦ T♥ flop, but Dias edged ahead to 60-percent equity with a flush draw on the J♥ turn. The A♥ delivered that flush on the river and bounced robc1978 in eighth. It was the capper of an impressive three-year, tier-climbing SCOOP Omaha run for robc1978, who placed third in SCOOP 2015's Event #39-Low (NL Omaha/8) and runner-up in SCOOP 2016's Event #30-Medium (6-max PL Mixed Omaha).

Three-time COOP winner Brian "brianm15" England finished five spots shy of what would have been a Triple COOP-earning TCOOP title back in January. His quest for career SCOOP title number two ended similarly - six spots shy - a few hands later when he defended the big blind all-in for 96,406 chips. Small-blind raiser Internett93o - winner of $5M Guaranteed Sunday Million in December 2015 - had A♦ Q♠ 7♦ 3♥ and connected with the flop and dodged a Broadway straight draw as the board fell a low-free J♣ 6♠ Q♥ 8♠ J♠, giving queens and jacks the pot and eliminating England in seventh.

Brian England

Brian "brianm15" England, out in seventh

SamSquid had been swimming along comfortably with twice the chips of anybody else at the table, but two particular wins in the next 10 minutes boosted his stack into a dominant position against five smaller stacks whose owners weren't keen on leaving yet. The next player out would take $10,520, less than a fifth of what awaited the winner.

In the first he raised to 21,111 in the cutoff seat with A♦ K♠ 6♦ 4♦ and caught a nut- draw-heavy 3♣ 9♦ 5♦ flop. He checked behind big-blind caller Antonio7 and called Antonio7's 27,361-chip bet on the Q♠ turn, bringing the 7♥ on the river. He coaxed a 150,000-chip call from Antonio7 when checked to and scooped the pot, dropping the Canadian to short-stack status.

In the second hand Antonio7 was the cutoff-seat raiser for 22,000 and SamSquid the big blind caller. SamSquid check-called 28,250 on the K♥ 9♦ Q♣ before unleashing an all-in check-raise after Antonio7 bet small on the 5♠ turn. Antonio7 folded and SamSquid took down a smallish pot that sent an important message to the rest of the table: don't bet unless you mean it - and if you think you mean it, reconsider in the light of putting your whole stack at risk. He continued with very little resistance to use his stack as leverage to attack the blinds going forward.

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Antonio7's tournament ended a few hands later after defending the big blind with A♥ K♣ 4♦ 3♣. A slim favorite before the flop, it fell to small-blind attacker joaoMathias. His A♣ Q♦ 9♦ 6♣ made nines and sevens on the 7♦ T♣ 9♠ J♦ 7♣ board, scooping pot as Antonio7 left in sixth. That makes two straight years with big-bet SCOOP Omaha Hi-Lo final table appearances for Antonio7, who finished runner-up in SCOOP 2016's Event #42-H ($2,100 PLO/8).

bedias scored the next knockout by coming from behind to chase down a weakaened CHUFTY, three-quarters of whose stack had evaporated a few hands earlier with A♠ 8♣ 7♥ 2♠ against Internett93o's A♣ J♥ 8♥ 2♣ when the latter's jack played as a kicker. After a wild run of double-ups and another loss, CHUFTY called all-in for 106,576 chips with A♠ K♥ 6♠ 6♣ when Dias raised in the small blind with A♣ Q♠ 7♦ 5♠. CHUFTY made a set of sixes on the 3♠ 6♥ J♥ flop before Dias made a runner-runner, eight-high straight with the 8♦ turn and 4♣ river. Dias's A♣ 5♠ also won him the low, knocking CHUFTY out in fifth.

U.K. vs Brazil

So began a showdown between four accomplished and skilled players who nonetheless somehow had remained COOP-less until May 2017. In the blue, white, and red corner was Sam "SamSquid" Grafton, most recently the winner of the March 27th $1,050 Sunday Grand. And in the green and gold corner were three Brazilian players with two Sunday Million titles and two more Super Tuesdays between them.


Collectively they had 53 percent of the chips in play, but SamSquid's 1,242,006-chip stack was worth more than twice any of the Brazilians'. For the next half-hour this table dynamic kept all but five pots under seven big blinds each, with SamSquid profiting by leaning on the Brazilians whenever possible and each of them picking up chips as they could. Eventually Internett93o picked up A♦ A♠ 6♣ 4♠ on the button and moved all-in for 169,654 chips. Bernardo Dias called with K♣ 4♣ 3♦ 2♦ and made kings and fours on the 4♦ K♠ Q♠ flop, which held up after the 8♥ turn and 9♦ to eliminate Internett93o in fourth.

The 45 minutes of three-handed poker that followed saw João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten working from behind. He managed to win the single biggest pot of that stretch early on after jamming for 280,923 chips from the small blind with A♣ K♥ 8♦ 2♠. SamSquid, who had limped in on the button, called as a 68.8-percent favorite with A♥ A♠ 7♥ 4♠ and watched as joaoMathias picked up a nut low draw on the 9♠ 4♦ 6♣ flop and then backed into three of a kind with the K♦ turn and K♠ river.

joaoMathias maintained momentum for a few minutes but then found himself unable to make much of an impact with SamSquid, and less often bedias, crowding the pots. Eventually the Brazilians met in a pot like two South American Highlanders when bedias opened for 32,800 and called joaoMathias's big-blind re-raise to 112,000. Both players checked the 3♦ 2♠ 9♠ flop, and then joaoMathias, whose A♦ T♥ 9♦ 7♠ made both straight and nut flush draws when the 8♦ came on the turn, jammed for 299,321. bedias called with A♥ 6♣ 5♣ A♥ for a lower straight draw and a a better made low, then stumbled into three deuces when the 2♥ hit the river. That made for a scoop along with the 8-5 low to beat joaoMathias's 8-7 and ended his tournament in third.


SamSquid held the advantage with 1,537,974 chips to bedias's 1,092,026, good for an edge of 28 big blinds as heads-up play began on the 8,000/16,000/2,000 level, an indicator that things might take a while. But the better indicator that a 77-minutes heads-up match was on the way was the fact that neither player had ever taken down a COOP title before. Even though the top prize was relatively small by SCOOP-High standards, the opportunity to earn a prestigious championship was all the inspiration these two needed.

bedias managed to seize a one-big-blind chip lead just five minutes in, flopping the second-nut flush with Q♥ J♦ 4♠ 2♥ for a 588,000-chip pot. Then SamSquid took 15 of the next 19 wins, the last two both worth at least 405,000, to climb just over 2 million chips as the 11:55 p.m. ET break approached. bedias managed to chip away at that total after the break before seizing the lead once again with another flopped flush, this time the nuts with A♦ K♦ 7♥ 3♥.

Bernardo Dias

Bernardo "bedias" Dias

Dias pushed his advantage just as hard as Grafton had his in the early going. He raised for value on the river of a 2♥ 2♦ K♥ 6♠ K♦ board, holding just 7♥ 6♥ 4♣ 2♣ for kings and sixes, and got paid for a 462,000-chip pot. After a few minutes his K♦ K♠ Q♥ 5♠ became a king-high straight on the turn of the T♦ 5♥ 9♥ J♣ 8♠ and the only thing preventing him from winning more than 822,000 was being out of position. Then SamSquid quickly fired back with eight wins in the next 11 pots, bringing the chip deficit with Dias back to less than six big blinds. The stacks were deep enough that the back-and-forth easily could have continued for another hour, but the next time SamSquid pulled ahead would be the final lead change.

Rather than moving ahead thanks to one big pot, SamSquid strung together 15 minutes' worth of small wins, building the pressure on his opponent drip by drip. Finally, with the 12:55 a.m. ET break looming, SamSquid raised small on the button with A♥ 8♠ 6♣ 2♣. Dias jammed for 656,442 chips in the big blind with A♠ J♠ 7♠ 5♥, a slim favorite before the flop against SamSquid's hand that had 87.5-percent equity by the time the board read J♣ 3♠ 2♥ 9♠. Then the 2♦ fell on the river, leaving Dias with busted high and low draws and SamSquid with trip deuces. That scooped the pot - and the SCOOP title.

Smiling Sam Grafton

Sam Grafton has at least 51,285 reasons to smile today

It was a long road to victory for SamSquid - and, one suspects, all the more satisfying for the challenge. Congratulations to him on earning that elusive SCOOP title!

SCOOP-27-H ($1,050 NL Omaha Hi-Lo, 8-Max) results
Entrants: 263 (146 entries, 117 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $263,000
Places paid: 40

1. Sam "SamSquid" Grafton (Untied Kingdom) $51,285
2. Bernardo "bedias" Dias (Brazil) $38,135
3. João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten (Brazil) $28,930
4. Internett93o (Brazil) $21,040
5. Richard "CHUFTY" Ashby (Untied Kingdom) $14,465
6. Antonio7 (Canada) $10,520
7. Brian "brianm15" England (Costa Rica) $7,890
8. robc1978 (United Kingdom) $6,575

Week two of SCOOP 2017 is officially underway - don't miss out on the action. Click here to open your PokerStars account today!

Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP