Sunday Warm-up: hithenose rides rockets to victory
For the second time in as many weeks fewer than four thousand players ponied-up the necessary $215 entry fee to sit down in the Sunday Warm-Up. Nevertheless, a healthy 3,674 runners entered to compete for their share of the slightly overlaid, $750,000 prize pool. Even with the World Series in full swing, plenty of PokerStars Pros decided spend their Sunday playing on the virtual felt, with PokerStars Nordic Team pro Johnny "johnnylodden" Lodden (469th for $322.50) and PokerStars Online Team pros Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc (392nd for $352.50) and Anders "Donald" Hoyer Berg (288th for $435) making it into the money.
Penthouse to Outhouse
At eleven players left, with the final table in sight, the shortest stacks jockeyed with each other for their spot among the final nine. Predictably, this cautious play was to the benefit of the tournament leaders, who were able to chip-up relatively unchecked. Initially, it looked like HOMERos would glide into the final table as one of the chip leaders, enjoying a more than six million chip stack as play approached the final table bubble. However, a big misstep with A♦ Q♥ against TommyGunn34 flopped set left HOMERos with less than 500,000 chips, just two spots away from the final table. A few hands later, HOMERos, very short and in a heads-up pot with verehaga, open shoved all-in with [10d] 7♦ on a 2♦ 2♠ A♦ flop. verehaga called and was ahead with A♣ 8♣ for top pair, but had to sweat HOMERos ten-high diamond flush draw. Alas for HOMERos it wasn't meant to be, as the K♣ fell on the turn and the 4♥ on the river, knocking HOMERos out in tenth place ($4,500) and setting the final table.
Seat 1: SOXFAN83 (5066199 in chips)
Seat 2: jackziyang (2077828 in chips)
Seat 3: TommyGunn34 (10803673 in chips)
Seat 4: PremiumStud (2330164 in chips)
Seat 5: modyla (3421072 in chips)
Seat 6: Aftret (2562683 in chips)
Seat 7: hithenose (3309454 in chips)
Seat 8: turataika (2169995 in chips)
Seat 9: verehaga (4998932 in chips)
HOMERos exit sent everyone to Table 260 for the tournament's final stretch. TommyGunn34, with an assist from HOMERos's downfall, came into the final table with a substantial chip lead over the field--10.8 million in chips good for nearly 30 percent of all the chips in play. The rest of the final table started off relatively bunched together, with SOXFAN83's five million chip stack in second place. Blinds were 65k/130k with a 13k ante as play resumed.
Does Everyone Have a Plane to Catch or Something?
Things got off to a quick start when play restarted. In the second hand of final table play SOXFAN83 opened for 272,345 in the cutoff position only to have jackziyang push in his last 1,986,828 on the button. Play folded to SOXFAN83, who called jackziyang all-in bet with 8♠ 8♣. jackziyang was in bad shape, holding a dominated pair of sevens. The board kept kosher, running out [10h] 3♠ 2♥ 9♣ A♣ and bringing jackziyang's brief run at the final table to an end in ninth place ($6,000).
It wasn't long until jackziyang had company on the virtual rail, however. Just two hands later SOXFAN83 opened for just over 340k from middle position. PremiumStud, from the button, then moved all-in over the top of SOXFAN83's raise for 2,656,941. Aftret called off his last 2,507,683 and, amazingly, SOXFAN83 also made the called, having both players covered. SOXFAN83 was well ahead of both all-in player, with K♥ K♦ versus PremiumStud's A♥ [10d] and Aftret's Q♠ Q♣. SOXFAN83 retained his lead on a flop of 8♠ 9♥ 6♣, but PremiumStud vaulted ahead when the 7♣ came on the turn, giving him a ten-high straight and a hammerlock on the hand. Both SOXFAN83 and Aftret were drawing to a ten on the river for a split pot, but instead the 8♦ came, eliminating Aftret in eighth place ($9,375) and nearly tripling-up PremiumStud.
The Carnage Continues
The first two exits at the final table came so quickly that final table moderator, PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, wasn't able to make an appearance at the table until both Aftret and jackziyang had already been eliminated. Not that Victor's presence at the final table meant any less action. At hand 13, nine hands after Aftret made his exist in eighth place, PremiumStud opened for 345,678 in the hi-jack seat. modyla called from the cutoff, but turataika decided to play it decidedly less friendly and moved all-in for just under 2.5 million. The original raiser, PremiumStud, folded, but modyla made the quick call. turataika was the player at risk and showed 4♣ 4♦, which was crushed by modyla's J♥ J♠. Things became bleaker for turataika after a flop of 5♥ 5♠ [10s], leaving turataika just two chances to hit one of the two remaining fours in the deck. The turn and river came 9♦ A♥ respectively, and turatiaka was eliminated in seventh place, good for a $16,875 payday.
Can I Still Take the Deal?
Play slowed down a bit once the table became six-handed. A deal was briefly discussed by four of the players remaining, but ultimately rejected by the largest stack, TommyGunn34 with 14 million, and the smallest, verehaga with less than five million. A comeback never materialized for verehaga, who, after spiking an ace to outdraw modyla's 7♣ 7♦ with A♥ 7♥ in an all-in confrontation, ran into trouble against PremiumStud just one hand later. verehaga opened with 600k in the cutoff position only to be raised all-in by PremiumStud. verehaga called off his last 2.1 million and exposed A♠ 9♥, which was dominated by PremiumStud's A♣ Q♦. The board ran out dry for verehage, 4♣ 4♥ 7♦ [10c] K♦, who still collected a healthy $24,375 payday for his sixth place finish.
In spite of the big money at stake the mood was pretty light as the final table moved into five-handed. Moderator Victor Ramdin traded jokes with a few of the final tablists, as the players began to trade blinds back-and-forth. At one point hithenose made a proposition to Victor; if Ramdin performed a rap he would transfer a whopping $5 to Victor's PokerStars account. In case you're wondering, Victor Ramdin has over $2.6 million in career tournament earnings. The ever jovial Ramdin jokingly replied "double it" before deciding to reject the idea altogether. However, before the joke was totally dead TommyGunn34 decided to put in his two cents, writing in the chat box "Hey that's ten bucks, better than minimum wage you know."
Anyway, here is how the final five looked as the blinds raised to 125k/250k with a 25k ante:
Seat 1: SOXFAN83 (3842741 in chips)
Seat 3: TommyGunn34 (14478116 in chips)
Seat 4: PremiumStud (7215644 in chips)
Seat 5: modyla (5254591 in chips)
Seat 7: hithenose (5948908 in chips)
No es Bueno
About 30 hands after verehaga made his exit in sixth, modyla and hithenose got tangled in a heads-up pot after a flop of J♥ 9♥ A♥. modyla first checked to hithenose, who made the less than half-pot bet of 500k. modyla raised hithenose 5 million, effectively moving hithenose all-in. hithenose snap called and showed A♠ K♥ for top pair with the nut flush draw. modyla was in trouble with A♦ [10c], needing runner-runner to knock out hithenose. The turn card, 8♠, provided a little sweat to a possible straight for modyla, but a blank river three doubled-up hithenose and crippled modyla down to 220k. modyla, who was sporting one of the newly available World Cup avatars, representing Spain, said adios to the final table two hands later when his K♥ 9♦ was out drawn by SOXFAN83's 5♣ 2♥. modyla collected $31,875 for his fifth place effort.
Sox lose Twice!
Two hands after modyla's demise, and with the blinds creeping up on him, a short stacked SOXFAN83 raised his button to 522,345 with A♥ [10s] only to be reraised all-in by PremiumStud in the big blind. SOXFAN83 called the all-in, PremiumStud showed 4♣ 4♠ and they were off to the races! Unfortunately for him, SOXFAN83 ran about as well as his Red Socks did earlier in the day against Philly, coming up dry on a 3♠ J♣ K♥ 2♦ K♣ board. PremiumStud's pocket fours held, sending SOXFAN83 out the door in fourth, $43,125 richer or roughly the same amount Daisuke Matsuzaka makes for everyday he's on the DL.
The idea of a deal was brought up once again following the elimination of SOXFAN83 in fourth. The players were fairly even in chips, with TommyGunn34 leading the way with 14,453,116. PremiumStud and hithenose were just a couple million behind the leader, holding 11,669,320 and 10,617,564, respectively. A strict chip-chop was agreed upon, setting aside $10,000 for the eventual champion.
Put out to Stud
After losing a big pot to hithenose on the first hand after the deal, PremiumStud got himself into a raising war against TommyGunn34 in a battle of the blinds. hithenose passed on his button allowing TommyGunn34 to raise his small blind to 666,666, prompting PremiumStud to move his last 7 million into the pot. TommyGunn34 called, showing A♥ K♥. PremiumStud was behind, but still very much alive with his Q♥ J♣. That is, PremiumStud was very much alive until the flop came down ace high, A♦ 7♦ 2♠. A queen on the turn gave PremiumStud a little hope, but a brick four on the river sent PremiumStud packing in third with $87,536.91.
Looking for the Comeback
Taking the low end of the chop, hithenose was looking to overcome a slight chip disadvantage to TommyGunn34 (16,255,128 to 20,484,872) in order to leapfrog both PremiumStud and TommyGunn34 in the final payouts. Blinds were 150k/300k with a 30k ante as heads-up play commenced, leaving the final two competitors with plenty of play, each wielding stacks of more than 50 big blinds.
Brrr, it's Cold in Here
After 53 hands of heads-up play, fortunes were now reversed from the start of heads-up action, with hithenose commanding a 22 million chip stack and TommyGun34 looking for the comeback with 14.5 million chips. Then came the awfully cold 54th hand. hithenose made it 800k on his button. TommyGunn34 countered with a raise to just over 2.1 million. hithenose wasn't satisfied with 2.1 and made it 4.2 million back to TommyGunn34. TommyGunn34 put in the last raise, all-in for 14.5 million. hithenose made the quick call and revealed two red aces. TommyGunn34' s hand wasn't much worse, A♠ K♥, but was crushed by hithenose's pocket aces. No funny business on the board, 3♦ 4♦ 8♥ 2♠ [10c], and TommyGunn34 was eliminated in second, collecting $89,278.48 for his great runner-up performance.
$750,000 Guarantee Sunday Warm-up Results (06-13-10):
(* denotes part of a three-way deal)
1. hithenose (Montclair) *$90,559.61
2. TommyGunn34 (Minooka) *$89,278.48
3. PremiumStud (Las Vegas) *$87,536.91
4. SOXFAN83 (Abington) $43,125.00
5. modyla (Sahrah-beduine) $31,875.00
6. verehaga (Russia) $24,375.00
7. turataika (Helsinki) $16,875.00
8. Aftret (Strindheim) $9,375.00
9. jackziyang (London) $6,000.00