Rafael "zugzwang16" Porzecanski chops heads-up, wins $87K in Super Tuesday (7/21/15)

This week's Super Tuesday was the first since the end of this summer's World Series in Las Vegas. With everyone's attention turned back away from last Tuesday's drama of the Main Event, the largest field in more than a month turned out for the July 21st Super Tuesday. With that bigger prize pool came a bigger first prize, even after a heads-up chop, as Uruguay's Rafael "zugzwang16" Porzecanski took down $87K and added a big title to his long list of tournament successes.

There were 150 players in the field to start at 2:00 p.m. ET, a number that grew to 495 by the close of late registration at 5:00 p.m. ET. Five hours and 41 minutes later the money bubble burst when Austria's Takanza left in 64th place, and by the time the players went on break 14 minutes later, the field had shrunk to 42, with three being knocked out on the final hand before the break alone.

Another two and a half hours of poker took that field down to the final table bubble and, when MaltLiquor40 busted in 10th place ($5,940), left these nine to play with 2,800/5,600/700 blinds and antes:

Seat 1: thagrinda444 (228,667 in chips)
Seat 2: marty7 (177,258 in chips)
Seat 3: keves88 (492,674 in chips)
Seat 4: ipo8181 (161,528 in chips)
Seat 5: Kekkhou (66,718 in chips)
Seat 6: Turko_man (583,643 in chips)
Seat 7: Rafael "zugzwang16" Porzecanski (321,086 in chips)
Seat 8: Stor81 (274,580 in chips)
Seat 9: Joel "jbrown8777" Brown (168,846 in chips)

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Finland's Kekkhou has enjoyed a good run in 2015, including multiple final tables during this year's SCOOP. Even starting with the shortest stack at the table wasn't too much of a disadvantage as the Finn chipped up over 137K without a showdown thanks to some well-timed aggression over the first 24 hands. Unfortunately, Hand #25 saw the early run come to a screeching halt when Kekkhou's A♣ K♣ in the small blind ran into ipo8181's A♦ A♥ on the button. Left with 20K after that bit of unfortunate timing, Kekkhou managed to double up once before moving in with A♥ Q♠ on Hand #30. Denmark's Stor81, a finalist in this tournament back in February 2014, called with Q♣ Q♥ and took down the pot on the 3♥ 8♣ 6♦ 2♦ 6♠ board, and Kekkhou bowed out in 9th place ($8,217).

A similar fate befell both of the next two players to bust from the tournament - and on the same hand, no less. Chip leader keves88 from Israel opened the action under the gun with a minimum raise to 16,000. That drew folds all around until Stor81 moved all-in for 125K on the button with A♣ Q♦. Then 7/5/15 Sunday Rebuy champion marty7 moved all-in for 182K in the big blind with A♠ K♥, and keves88 capped off the action by calling with A♦ A♥. With all four aces in play the underdogs were in big trouble, and the 5♦ 5♥ 2♣ 7♠ T♣ board eliminated Stor81 in 8th place ($11,137.50) and marty7 in 7th ($16,087.50).

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Another 26 hands went by before Joel "jbrown8777" Brown's run at a second Super Tuesday victory came to an end. He opened the betting under the gun for 21K with A♣ T♠ and was immediately re-raised to 50K by thagrinda444. The rest of the table folded and Brown called to see a 9♥ A♦ 4♣ flop. He check-called 36K there, and then both players, separated by just over 11K, checked the 9♠ turn. Brown checked again on the 8♥ river and was put to the test when thagrinda444 moved all-in for 268K. Brown eventually made the call, only to be left with 11,303 chips after thagrinda444 showed down 9♣ 9♦ for quads and the 734K-chip pot.

Joel Brown managed to double up once before losing out with T♣ 9♣ in the big blind when zugzwang16's Q♠ 3♠ flopped trips, after which he left in 6th place ($21,037.50). That turned out to be the beginning of the run that put zugzwang16, winner of an Audi TT in the March 2011 Turbo Takedown and more than $3,000,000 in cashes online, in position to take down the title.

zugzwang16 took a second swing at a short stack a little while later after opening under the gun for 29K with 8♠ 5♠ and having keves88 move all-in for 103K on the button. Both blinds folded and zugzwang16 called for 74K with 162K already in the pot to face off against keves88's A♥ 9♣. The big stack stayed the underdog through the 2♣ 4♥ K♠ flop and 2♥ turn, but the 5♦ on the river gave zugzwang16 a pair of fives and the 237K-chip pot. With that keves88 - who enjoyed quite a week with a runner-up finish in a 5,700-player $11 NLHE tourney last Monday, a win in a $215 two days later, and a $55 rebuy satellite win today to win entry into this tournament - departed in 5th place ($27,225).

Only two hands later ipo8181 opened the betting with an all-in raise to 124K, holding 4♠ 4♥. zugzwang16 was the caller once again, this time as a heavy favorite with 9♣ 9♦. Both players caught a full house on the 8♥ 8♦ 8♣ 3♥ Q♦ board, changing nothing, and ipo8181 finished in 4th place ($38,610).

There was some discussion of a deal three-handed, but past Sunday Million champ Turko_man nixed it and play resumed for another nine hands. Then the Finn met the same fate as ipo8181 had a few orbits earlier, running a small pair into zugzwang16's bigger pair. This time it was 2♣ 2♦ against Q♠ Q♣, and zugzwang16 caught middle set on the A♣ 6♥ Q♦ flop to leave Turk_man in need of running deuces. The K♦ and T♣ came instead, and Turko_man was gone in 3rd place ($50,737.50).

That left just these two players with the blinds and antes at 7,000/14,000/1,750:

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Seat 1: thagrinda444 (891,746 in chips)
Seat 7: Rafael "zugzwang16" Porzecanski (1,583,254 in chips)

With the one holdout gone, they quickly agreed to chop up the remaining prize pool and leave $8,000 on the table for the winner. With more than $75K locked up, the two-time WCOOP final tablist set out to chip up against the man with more than $3,000,000 in career cashes in PokerStars tournaments.

They would duel for 115 hands in all, much of it spent with thegrinda444 moving uphill Sisyphus-like to within sight of the lead, only to lose a big pot and have to start over again. By the final hand the blinds and antes were up to 10K/20K/2.5K and thagrinda444 had chipped back up to 988K.

thagrinda444 opened the action for 42K on the button with Q♣ T♥ and called a re-raise to 122K, bringing the 4♠ K♣ J♥ flop. Both players checked and zugzwang16 check-called 171K on the J♠ turn to see the 8♥ on the river. zugzwang16 checked again and called with K♥ 3♠ for two pair when thagrinda444 moved all-in for 691K. That beat thagrinda444's busted straight draw and brought the tournament to an end.

Congratulations to thagrinda444 on the chop and to Mr. Porzecanski on adding a Super Tuesday title and nearly $88,000 to his career resume.

7/21/15 Super Tuesday ($1,050 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants: 495
Prize pool: $495,000
Places paid: 63

1. Rafael "zugzwang16" Porzecanski (Uruguay) $87,955.73
2. thagrinda444 (Canada) $75,394.27
3. Turko_man (Finland) $50,737.50
4. ipo8181 (Greece) $38,610
5. keves88 (Israel) $27,225
6. Joel "jbrown8777" Brown (Canada) $21,037.50
7. marty7 (United Kingdom) $16,087.50
8. Stor81 (Denmark) $11,137.50
9. Kekkhou (Finland) $8,217

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Super Tuesday