Best Sunday Warm-Up Performance for 2/27/11 Goes to Maethi

sunday-warmup-thumb.jpgOscar night. For some the red-carpet arrivals actually constitute the real "show," with the awarding of the little golden statues later on a less interesting formality. So, too, has the Sunday Warm-Up on PokerStars emerged as a weekly rival to that other big $215 buy-in tourney happening later on every Sunday.

This week was no exception, with a big field populated by many of online poker's best lining up for the Warm-Up. A whopping 4,989 entered, together building a $997,800 prize pool. The top 720 finishers were due to divide up those riches, with the first-place finisher due $156,088.23.

Not bad at all. And with no post-victory speech required.

It took a little over four hours for the cash bubble to burst, and with 720 remaining a familiar name was atop the leaderboard, Fabrizio "SixthSenSe19" Gonzalez, followed by Flop_me_dead, bunchballa17, doncarignano, and mafiaboy29.

Among the final eliminations just prior to the money was Team PokerStars Pro Theo "Theo J" Jorgensen, sunk like the Titanic in 724th. That left just one player among those remaining to represent PokerStars, Pieter de Korver of Team PokerStars Netherlands.


Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver

De Korver's tablemate, bigrich1111 let him know of his special status.

bigrich1111: pete ur last pro
bigrich1111: my goal take u out but unlikely

"Last pro?" answered de Korver, expressing a bit of surprise at the news. He and bigrich1111 chatted a bit more, the latter's goal to knock out de Korver indeed demonstrating a Braveheart as bigrich1111 was short-stacked with less than 10,000 to de Korver's 125,000-plus.

bigrich1111 did manage to double up once with pocket kings. He nursed that short stack quite a bit longer, too, though eventually was ousted by BertBufffff in 268th place, earning $518.85 for his efforts.

Meanwhile, de Korver continued to fight his way into the final 100. Then, as the tourney approached the six-and-half-hour mark, a big hand arose between de Korver and benchballa17.

With the blinds 10,000/20,000, De Korver opened with a raise to 45,000 from early position, and it folded to benchballa17 on the button who called. Raj "BadcardsAA" Vohra, sitting in the big blind, called as well, and the three saw the flop come 8♣5♥8♠. Vohra checked, de Korver bet 70,000, benchballa17 called, and BadcardsAA stepped aside.

The turn brought the 2♠ and an all-in shove for 259,103 from de Korver. benchball17 was only too glad to snap-call, tabling 8♥8♦ for flopped quads. De Korver, holding but a flush draw with Q♠4♠, was drawing dead. Kind of a Rocky hand all around for the Dutch pro, resulting in his being KO'ed in 78th place ($1,416.87).

By the time the tourney reached eight hours, there were 20 left. With the blinds up to 50,000/100,000, a number of players had bunched around the average stack size of approximately 25 big blinds. Meanwhile, kubuzkuz had pushed out ahead of the pack with nearly 7 million, almost twice what second-place Speddie had.

About 45 minutes later they were down to 10 with kubuzkuz still out in front with about 11.15 million, though Maethi had closed the gap and sat with just over 10.2 million.

That's when Edgaraz minimum-raised to 320,000 from under the gun and it folded back to Maethi in the big blind who called. The flop came [10h]8♠5♦, and Maethi check-called Edgaraz's continuation-bet of 480,000. The turn brought the Q♦ and Maethi checked again. Edgaraz bet 1.28 million this time, prompting an all-in check-raise from Maethi.

Edgaraz thought a few moments, then called with his last 1,966,768, showing A♦A♣. Alas for Edgaraz, Maethi had turned a straight with J♦9♥, and following a meaningless river card the final table was set.


Seat 1: linzy69 -- 4,364,668
Seat 2: Gabrici_wolf -- 1,528,095
Seat 3: Maethi -- 14,723,773
Seat 4: kubuzkuz -- 10,709,962
Seat 5: Amfan*Dexx -- 6,774,580
Seat 6: prallimall -- 1,464,875
Seat 7: Speddie -- 2,226,032
Seat 8: bertotraste -- 1,244,594
Seat 9: Hallrmonky2 -- 6,853,421

One orbit into the final table, Maethi min-raised to 320,000 from early position and it folded to a short-stacked bertotraste in the big blind who reraised all in for 1,132,594. Maethi called, showing K♠T♥, while bertotraste held A♣K♦. The flop came 3♠T♠3♣, pairing up Maethi, and after the 2♠ turn and 7♦ river, bertotraste was Gone With the Wind in ninth.

Just three hands later, Gabrici_wolf open-raised all in for 1,416,095 from the small blind, and Maethi called from the BB. This time Maethi had the better starter with A♦Q♠ to Gabrici_wolf's K♦Q♣. The five community cards came 9♥3♦J♠6♦2♣, and -- Crash -- Gabrici_wolf had been grounded in eighth.

It would be three hands later (again) when the next elimination occurred. And once more it was Maethi delivering the knockout.

This time Hallrmonky2 had opened with a raise to 425,000 from UTG and Maethi, sitting in the hijack seat, called the raise. The cutoff folded, then Amfan*Dexx reraised all in for 3,592,794 from the button. The blinds folded, Hallrmonky2 stepped aside as well, then Maethi quickly called.

"omg misclick" typed Amfan*Dexx as the cards were tabled, revealing he held 8♦6♥. Maethi, meanwhile, showed A♦T♦, and after the board came 3♥3♦Q♣K♠5♥, and Amfan*Dexx was out in seventh, his mistake Unforgiven.

That gave Maethi a commanding lead with more than 21 million, nearly half the chips in play with six players left. The nine-hour break soon followed, during which some of the others suggested the possibility of a deal, but Maethi wasn't interested and the tourney continued.

With the blinds up to 100,000/200,000, prallimall open-shoved all in for 2,743,107 from the cutoff, then Speddie reraised all in for about 640,000 more from the button. The blinds folded, prallimall showed J♣T♥, and Speddie A♥A♣.

The aces didn't just hold... they were joined by a couple more bullets, too. Take a look.

RSS readers click through to see replay

prallimall had joined The Departed, and just five players remained.

Speddie's good fortune on that hand wouldn't last long, however, as it was only a few minutes later he'd be the fifth-place finisher, with Maethi stepping in once more to claim another victim.

In that hand, Maethi opened from the button with a minimum-raise to 400,000 and Speddie called from the big blind. The flop came T♥5♣9♠. Speddie checked, Maethi bet 400,000, Speddie check-raised to 1 million, and Maethi called. The turn then brought the J♥. This time Speddie led for 1.5 million, and Maethi reraised all in. Speddie called with the 3,986,371 left behind, showing A♠J♠ for a pair of jacks with top kicker. But Maethi had J♦T♠ for two pair. Following the K♣ river, Speddie was out in fifth, yet another to feel The Sting of Maethi.

With four left, Maethi was up to a bit more than 29 million, kubuzkuz in second with 8.65 million, Hallrmonky2 in third with 6.52 million, and linzy69 last with almost 5.64 million.

After a few more hands, the stacks were roughly the same, with linzy69 having snuck ahead of Hallrmonky2 into third place. Chop talk arose again, and this time Maethi agreed with the others to see what sort of deal they could negotiate.

The discussion took quite some time, seeming to stretch From Here to Eternity. Finally, after more than 20 minutes and several creative suggestions about how best to divide the remaining payouts, a Gentleman's Agreement was reached. Maethi would get $137,500, the other three $87,500, and $11,000 would remain on the table for the eventual winner.

The first hand back, kubuzkuz open-shoved all in and got no callers, then showed his pocket rockets. A few hands later Hallrmonky2 doubled through linzy69 when his pocket kings held up versus the latter's Big Slick.

Soon after that the blinds were 125,000/250,000 when kubuzkuz opened for 550,000 and got one caller in linzy69 in the small blind. The flop came 7♠9♠K♣, prompting an all-in push for 1,599,845 from linzy69 and a call from kubuzkuz.

linzy69 had hit the flop with K♦Q♠, but when he saw his opponent's hand had to think things were not Going My Way. Turned out kubuzkuz had hit the flop, too -- twice, in fact, with K♠9♣ for two pair. The turn was the A♠ and river the 6♥, and kubuzkuz's hand remained best. linzy69 was out in fourth.

On the last hand before the ten-hour break, Hallrmonky2 was all in for a little over 5.7 million with A♥7♦ and up against Maethi's A♣Q♥. A saving seven flopped for Hallrmonky2 and the pair held. Maethi was still well in front, however, with 28.87 million to Hallrmony2's 11.63 million and kubuzkuz's 9.38 million.

The trio battled gamely another half-hour, with Maethi continuing to maintain the lead throughout. Then, with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, kubuzkuz raised to 840,000 from the button, and Hallrmonky2 pushed all in for 5,193,972 from the small blind. Maethi folded, and kubuzkuz called, showing A♠4♦ to Hallrmonky2's K♠J♥.

The flop came 4♣7♠3♠, pairing kubuzkuz. Then the K♦ turn swung the advantage back to Hallrmonky2. But the A♦ spiked on the river, sending the valiant Gladiator Hallrmonky2 out in third.

Just two combatants remained to continue the fight In the Heat of the Night.

Maethi had about 60% of the chips in play with 30,036,080 to kubuzkuz's 19,853,920 as heads-up play began. After 10 minutes they were virtually even, with kubuzkuz sneaking into the lead briefly at one point. But a brief Cavalcade of pots soon went Maethi's way, setting up the night's final hand of the night.

It was about a quarter 'til Midnight (Cowboy), 10 hours and 45 minutes after the tourney had begun. The blinds were up to 300,000/600,000 when kubuzkuz opened with a raise to 1.26 million from the button. Maethi, who had nearly 40 million at this point, reraised all in, and kubuzkuz, figuring You Can't Take It With You, called with the 9,384,920 he had left.

Maethi K♥J♦
kubuzkuz A♦5♣

The flop was good for Maethi, coming 3♠K♦6♥. The turn was the 3♣. An ace on the river would've been sweeter than The Sound of Music for kubuzkuz, but the J♠ fell, giving Maethi kings and jacks and that extra $11,000 that had been reserved for the winner.

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It might not have been The Greatest Show on Earth, but it was nonetheless quite a performance by Maethi, leader for almost every hand at this week's Sunday Warm-Up. And I'm sure The King's Speech would be interesting to hear, but as mentioned at the outset, no such formalities are required of the player who rules the Sunday Warm-Up.

Sunday Warm-Up Results for 2/27/11 (*reflects four-way deal):

1st: Maethi ($148,500)*
2nd: kubuzkuz ($87,500)*
3rd: Hallmonky2 ($87,500)*
4th: linzy69 ($87,500)*
5th: Speddie ($42,406.50)
6th: prallimall ($32,428.50)
7th: Amfan*Dexx ($22,450.50)
8th: Gabrici_wolf ($12,472.50)
9th: bertotraste ($7,982.40)

It Happened One Night for Maethi, but perhaps it'll happen another night for you. Check out the PokerStars tourney page for information on all of the tournament action happening every day.

Films winning the Academy Award for Best Picture mentioned above: Cavalcade (1933), It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Gone With the Wind (1939), Going My Way (1944), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Sound of Music (1965), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Sting (1973), Rocky (1976), Unforgiven (1992), Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), Gladiator (2000), Crash (2005), The Departed (2006), The King's Speech (2010).

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Warm-Up