Super Tuesday: Kakalala conquers epic final table for $64K

Kakalala had come close to winning a major PokerStars title twice in the past, finishing seventh in the WCOOP 2012 Main Event and then fifth in a SCOOP 2014 Medium event. Tonight the player from Denmark got even closer in the Super Tuesday - and then had to go toe-to-toe with DSmunichlife and BIack88 for two hours of three-handed play and another hour heads-up with BIack88. In the end, Kakalala finally locked up that elusive title and nearly $65,000 to go with it.

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This week's Super Tuesday drew 354 players, good for a $354,000 prize pool split among the top 53 finishers. It took a bit under six hours of play to get there, but the bubble finally popped at after karvounios of Cyprus got all-in for 10 big blinds with Q♣ Q♦. Chicwo called in the small blind with A♣ 3♣, flopped a gutshot wheel draw, and then completed that draw on the turn. That bounced karvounios in 54th place and opened up the prize pool to everybody else.

After another three hours the field had been reduced to 10. Then Miltos14 opened the betting all-in from the small blind with K♣ T♦. Kakalala called with A♦ Q♠ in the big blind and flopped an ace. That was all it took to eliminate Miltos14 in 10th and set up this final table lineup:

Seat 1: BIack88 (1,938,462 in chips)
Seat 2: Sumist (530,706 in chips)
Seat 3: 7DonCool7 (622,107 in chips)
Seat 4: DSmunichlife (774,369 in chips)
Seat 5: $uperday (355,238 in chips)
Seat 6: papan9_p$ (2,525,574 in chips)
Seat 7: kjunia (406,162 in chips)
Seat 8: Kakalala (1,455,141 in chips)
Seat 9: GOKER323 (242,241 in chips)

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It took a full 30 minutes to reach the first knockout, more from the deep-stacked situation that let the players get away from trouble spots than from a lack of action. Even then, it only came about because of two big starting hands running up against each other. Past TCOOP High Roller runner-up and Sunday Warm-Up finalist DSmunichlife opened the action under the gun for 54K and was the only caller after $uperday moved in for 289K in second position. $uperday had three-bet with A♣ K♠, but that couldn't top DSmunichlife's A♥ A♠ after the board came 8♥ 5♠ Q♦ 4♦ T♠, sending $uperday to the rail in ninth.

One orbit later DSmunichlife was under the gun again. This time the German player raised to 65K with 4♥ 4♠ and was the only caller after kjunia shoved for 237K total in middle position. kjunia was a big favorite with K♣ K♥, but the 7♣ 4♣ 5♠ 3♦ A♦ board made a set of fours for DSmunichlife and knocked kjunia out in eighth.

Eight hands later another pair of pocket aces boosted one short stack over another. GOKER323 opened the action in the hijack seat, raising all-in for 332K with K♠ J♠. Past Super Tuesday and TCOOP finalist 7DonCool7 isolated with A♦ A♠ in the small blind, picking up the 715K-chip pot after a board of 2♠ 8♦ 3♦ 4♦ 6♥ to bust GOKER323 in seventh.

Unfortunately for 7DonCool7, that was the high point of the tournament. Two hands later the German player raised in the cutoff and called a button re-raise from DSmunichlife, then check-called 78K on the K♥ 6♥ 2♠ before folding to another small bet after the Q♦ turn. After folding two orbits' worth of blinds and antes away, 7DonCool7 finally picked up J♦ J♣ in the small blind and re-raised papan9_p$'s 75K-chip opener to 231K. That pitted the jacks against papan9_p$'s A♦ T♠, which made top pair on the flop and trip aces on the rvier of the 3♠ 9♣ A♠ 4♠ A♥ board to bust 7DonCool7 in sixth.


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The next knockout came just five hands later. Past Super Tuesday, SCOOP, and Sunday Warm-Up finalist BIack88, who held the lead by more than 2M chips with the blinds and antes still at 17.5K/35K/3.5K, opened the action for 75K in the cutoff seat with K♣ Q♣ and was the only caller when Sumist jammed for 444K on the button. Sumist's A♥ 7♥ had the edge and a heart flush draw after the turn, but the river of the J♦ T♥ 4♣ 5♥ Q♠ board made a pair of queens for Black88 to eliminate Sumist in fifth.

After that, the whirlwind of destruction settled down for half an hour. There was still plenty of action, but it all went in favor of the shorter stacks. Kakalala doubled up on the next hand when A♣ 9♦ held up in the big blind against papan9_p$'s small-blind raising K♣ T♥. Then papan9_p$ jammed with J♠ T♠ and turned a flush to top DSmunichlife's A♥ 8♠ in the big blind. DSmunichlife took down a 1.07M-chip pot without seeing a single card after five-betting Black88's button raise from the small blind. And then Kakalala opened with J♣ J♦, four-bet all-in over DSmunichlife's small blind re-raise with A♦ Q♥, and flopped a set to take down the 2.5M-chip pot.

That loss slashed DSmunichlife's stack to 950K as the midnight ET break approached, but the German player was able to make up the lsot ground after the break. In the big blind with A♦ K♠, DSmunichlife turned a Broadway straight and got two streets of value out of BIack88, who had opened the action from the small blind but mucked at showdown.

Nine hands later, DSmunichlife called with A♥ Q♦ in the small blind after Kakalala opened for 82K in the cutoff. papan9_p$ then shoved for 618K in the big blind, which cleared Kakalala out of the hand, but DSmunichlife called. papan9_p$ caught an open-ended straight draw on the 8♠ 9♣ T♥ flop, but the J♥ that gave the Russian player a pair of jacks also made a queen-high straight for DSmunichlife. The 7♠ on the river was no help, and papan9_p$ left in fourth.

The long road to victory

With the first six players eliminated from the fray, the remaining three settled in stacked like this for what would turn out to be a few hours of deep-stacked tournament poker:

Seat 1: BIack88 (4,118,188 in chips)
Seat 4: DSmunichlife (2,411,877 in chips)
Seat 8: Kakalala (2,319,935 in chips)

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BIack88 extended that lead with two seven-figure pots in the first 25 minutes, both at DSmunichlife's expense. The first, worth 1.67M chips, came after defending the big blind with 6♦ 4♦, flopping a pair of sixes, and calling a bluff raise from DSmunichlife on the river of the 6♠ T♥ 2♦ 2♠ 5♣ board. The second, also in the big blind, saw BIack88 defend with 9♥ 5♣ and catch two pair on the 5♠ 9♣ 7♦ flop, which paid off for 1.54M chips after check-raising there and leading on the K♥ turn before checking the 7♠ river.

DSmunichlife struck back within minutes. After limping with K♣ Q♦ on the button and making top pair on the 2♣ 3♣ K♠ flop, DSmunichlife led on every street. BIack88 called down with Q♣ J♥, which made a pair of jacks on the turn, and DSmunichlife doubled back to 2.1M. Another button limp about five minutes later earned DSmunichlife a 1.46M-chip pot at BIack88's expense, this time when BIack88 folded to a smallish bet with the board reading 3♥ 7♦ 5♣ K♦ 7♣.

That stretch of wins for DSmunichlife brought the three players within 12 big blinds of one another toward the end of the 30K/60K/6K level. After they took their 12:55 a.m. ET break, Kakalala defended the big blind with Q♥ T♠ against a button raise from BIack88, who ended up flopping a flush with J♥ 3♥. Kakalala called a bet on the flop and made a better flush on the K♥ river, then called there and on the K♠ to take a 2M-chip pot and a narrow four-big-blind chip lead.

BIack88 dropped as low as 722K, just 10 big blinds at the time, but twice found ways to stay alive. First came an ace on the river, pairing with A♦ 9♣ to top Kakalala's pocket fours. Then came A♦ T♣ against DSmunichlife's A♥ 4♥, neither of which improved on the 9♠ 5♠ 7♣ 3♥ 8♥ board. That kept the Russian player in the hunt, though still in last with 2.1M chips as the 1:55 a.m. break came and went.

Almost two hours exactly after three-handed play began, BIack88 defended the big blind with A♣ 9♥ and caught top pair on the A♠ 5♠ 2♠ flop. BIack88 check-called 172K there and then another 402K on the Q♣ river after both players checked the K♣ turn. DSmunichlife mucked, and BIack88 won the 1.58M-chip pot with a pair of aces.

That put BIack88 about six big blinds ahead of DSmunichlife - not a big difference on the surface, but enough of one to matter a few hands later when DSmunichlife re-raised all-in for 2.5M in the big blind when BIack88 opened for 200K on the button. BIack88 made the call with 8♣ 8♠, which had the edge over DSmunichlife's A♦ 8♥. The board came 9♦ K♦ Q♣ T♠ 7♠, the eights dodged the two overcards that could have sunk them, and DSmunichlife finished the tournament in third.

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After skirting the edge of elimination three-handed, BIack88 had 5.8M chips to Kakalala's 3M as heads-up play began. The match proved no less competitive than the previous two hours had been, starting with Kakalala taking down two big pots - one worth 1.9M, won uncontested with a bet on the river of a 5♣ 3♥ 2♠ 7♦ K♥ board, and the second with a king-high straight draw filled in on the river of a J♥ 6♠ J♦ T♥ Q♠ board. Three streets of betting, including a million-chip bet paid off on the river, gave Kakalala the 3.4M-chip pot and the lead with a stack worth 5.4M total. BIack88 struck back just as quickly, and a tug-of-war ensued. As soon as one player would make some headway, the other would turn it back around.

The pattern continued for the entire hour that they played heads-up, with the turning point fittingly coming on a hand that saw the two players start within one big blind of each other. Kakalala opened on the button with a min-raise to 320K, then jammed for 4.4M when BIack88 re-raised to 881K. BIack88 folded, giving the 1.79M-chip pot to Kakalala and opening a gap of about 10 big blinds between them.

Kakalala won the blinds and antes on the next four hands in a row before being dealt A♠ J♣ in the big blind. BIack88, who had Q♥ Q♠, limped on the button and then called for 2.5M total when Kakalala shoved. The 3♠ 4♣ 2♠ flop opened up a couple of new routes to danger, and the 5♠ turn turned one of them into a wheel straight for Kakalala. An ace or non-spade six would have split the pot to keep BIack88 in the game, but the Q♣ came on the river instead, making a set too late and bringing the tournament to a close.

BIack88's close call was worth $47,566.80. And Kakalala earned $64,779.23 and the much-coveted title of Super Tuesday champion. Congratulations to them both for putting on an entertaining show at this week's final table!

2/14/17 Super Tuesday ($1,050 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 354
Total prize pool: $354,000
Places paid: 53

1. Kakalala (Denmark) $64,779.23
2. BIack88 (Russia) $47,566.80
3. DSmunichlife (Germany) $34,927.94
4. papan9_p$ (Russia) $25,647.37
5. Sumist (Bulgaria) $18,832.69
6. 7DonCool7 (Germany) $13,828.72
7. GOKER323 (Ukraine) $10,154.31
8. kjunia (Japan) $7,456.26
9. $uperday (Germany) $5,475.07


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Super Tuesday