Sunday Warm-Up: Manta_Rays swims past the field for $100K victory

Thumbnail image for Sunday Warm-Up logo NEW.PNGTonight's $500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up was about a pair of Russian players tearing up the final table busting each player from places fourth through ninth and looking to go 1-2 with $100,072.70 up top. Twice potential deals were shot down and twice Manta_Rays from Sweden would stand tall to claim that six-figure prize.

Three Team PokerStars Pros would themselves in one of the 495 money spots today but only one would get within sniffing distance of the final table. Toni Judet ($305.95, 417th place) and Christophe De "chrisdm" Meulder ($356.94, 317th place) would carve out a small cash but another Team Pro player had sights on a much better ROI from the $215.00 buy-in.

Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann would thank the well-wishers for dropping encouragements into the chat box as the German Pro looked ready to fight for the six figure payday sitting the final table. Rolling along with an average stack, just 12 players remained, and not easing off the gas Heitmann would min-raise with blinds at 50K/100K ante 10K from early position as ELLA368 put in a three-bet to 600,000. Folded back around the Jan who smooth called to see a Q♣J♥5♠ flop. Heitmann immediately shoved for 1.36 million perhaps hoping to bully ELLA368 off a small/medium pair or ace-king. He was correct that ELLA368 had a small pair, one that made a set of fives 5♥5♣. Heitmann's ducks 2♠2♦ were drawing to a perfect-perfect and the Q♥ turn and K♣ river officially ended the evening in 12th place ($3,824.40).


Jan Heitmann 12th place

After donvito1st from Austria bowed out in 11th place ($3,824.40) our bubble action mostly took place on Table 23 with several preflop all-ins, the last of which would close up the table. With the blinds moving up to 65K/130K ante 13K Baverx would sit in the big blind looking at a pair of queens Q♦Q♠ and the 1.38 million chip button shove from rh300487. The call came quickly as rh300487 turned over 8♣9♣. After a straight draw opened up on the turn 3♥ T♥ K♠ J♥ the river J♦ produced no further excitement as everyone moved to Table 214 for the race to the $100,072.70 first prize:


Seat 1: idvalentina (2457560 in chips)
Seat 2: ELLA368 (8198281 in chips)
Seat 3: Baverx (3832096 in chips)
Seat 4: FEL777 (2405711 in chips)
Seat 5: iamtheboss12 (1851124 in chips)
Seat 6: m8675309a (2631358 in chips)
Seat 7: superf1sh (4342425 in chips)
Seat 8: Manta_Rays (4210840 in chips)
Seat 9: NCSU2012 (1940605 in chips)

Eight is not great for idvalentina
Just eight hands into the final table, enough time to grab a calming tea and settle in to fight for the sizable first place reward would end the tournament for idvalentina. With the blinds holding at 65K/130K ante 13K idvalentina found an open spot to shove 1.89 million in the cutoff with a suited T♦A♦. However, Team Pro slayer ELLA368 also held a suited hand with a better kick on the button and made the call with A♣K♣. An unnecessary king would hit the river as idvalentina was quickly ushered away from the stage in ninth place ($5,099.20)


If idvalentina looked lonely on the rail ELLA368 made sure the Romanian would have some company. Blind still at 65K/130K ante 13K, NCSU2012 would open shove from middle position holding 1.61 million chips as ELLA368 in the hijack seat found another high suited ace Q♠A♠ and made the call. Much like the hand with idvalentina, NCSU2012 held a lower kicker J♦A♥ and the board complied with the dominate hand 5♠ 3♠ 6♥ 3♥ 9♣ sending out our eighth place ($7,967.50) finisher just four minutes into final table play. NCSU2012 must have a knack for running deep in big tourneys as Costa Rican player bubble the $10K WCOOP 2012 Event #2 winning $35,000.00 as a consolation prize.

So you're telling me there's a chance?

No. Not really.

Still in the 65K/130K ante 13K level another player felt the need to pick up their tournament winnings quickly. ELLA368 (who else?) would stir up trouble, opening with a min-raise from the cutoff seat as fellow Russian FEL777 three-bet to 780,000 from the small blind. Watching all the action was iamtheboss12 in the big blind with Q♣A♣ and 1.66 million chips. The German would try to break up the Russian's party with a shove as ELLA368 left quickly, but FEL777 could not find the call button fast enough holding pocket aces A♦A♣. With no clubs showing up on the 5♥ 8♠ K♦ 2♥ 6♥ board iamtheboss12 was fired after the turn card but earned $14,341.50 in seventh place.

Level of death

Two hands later and the very last hand before the blinds would move up to 80K/160K ante 16K, FEL777 and m8675309a would square away a massive 5.2 million chip pot preflop. Watch below for the results as "Team Russia" looked for their fourth straight knockout:

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FEL777 turned up J♥A♥ and was trailing m8675309a's big slick K♦A♠. A king on the flop would connect with m8675309a's hand but the ten T♣ 5♦ K♣ shifted the outs from jacks to queens. The turned 2♠ was safe but the Q♦ river gave m8675309a a $20,715.50 bad-beat story in sixth place. Like NCSU2012, m8675309a also bubbled from a high rolling event. The biggest online event here at PokerStars is the WCOOP Main Event, and m8675309a happened to finish on the final table bubble back in 2010.

Five minutes of calm

In just 15 minutes half of the final table of this Sunday Major would be focusing on other tournaments or checking up on their sports bets. With the blinds at 80K/160K ante 16K, FEL777 faced a 2.65 button shove from Baverx that would cost the Russian 1/3rd of the second place stack. Holding pocket eights 8♣8♥ FEL777 correctly picked off the blind steal as Baverx turned up K♦8♦. The first two cards out of the shoe were diamonds, but the turn and river 3♦ Q♦ 6♠ A♠ 7♥ failed to connect on Baverx's flush draw ending the night in fifth place ($27,089.50).

Russian Rout

Down to four players and the $100K first prize getting closer, ELLA368 looked to keep the perfect streak alive for the Russians as the blinds moved to 100K/200K ante 20K. After opening with a min-raise, ELLA368 was faced with a decision after superf1sh decided to shove from the big blind for 2.34 million chips. Holding J♠K♠ ELLA368 made the call as superf1sh showed a small ace 5♣A♦. Both players would connect on the T♥Q♥A♠ but ELLA368's straight hit it a little harder, more like a 250 pound linebacker running 10 yards to sack the quarterback hard. The turned J♦ gave hope to a chopped pot, but the 7♥ awarded $36,650.50 to superf1sh in fourth place.

In the 150K/300K ante 30K blind level two Russians and Swede walk into a bar... but cannot decide what to drink after attempting to chop up the remaining prize pool and walk out again without a deal in place.

Sweden versus Russia

After watching ELLA368 and FEL777 shave off every player at the final table, Manta_Rays had a very uphill battle to break through the Russian defense. As the blinds moved to 150K/300K ante 30K ELLA368's stack was decimated after losing two big pots, doubling up Manta_Rays in a 12.3 million chip pot and another 6.8 million chip pot shipped to the Swede. Three hands later with just 545,828 chips ELLA368 would open shove from the small blind as FEL777 made the call out of the big blind. Q♦4♣ would need to hit against FEL777's A♣9♥ and the T♣ 3♦ J♠ 3♣ 7♠ board stayed clean enough to send ELLA368 to the rail in third place ($52,585.50).

After ELLA368 collected third place cash, Manta_Rays was quick and firm with a chop offer "Even chop minus 10K to the winner or play". FEL777 struggled a bit with the English but understood enough that the Russian did not want to lock up at least $82,324.25 and decided to play on.

How Swede it is

No deal was the call as our final two marched into heads-up play for the entire $100K nearly even in chips. In a stark contrast to the rest of the final table, our final two would battle for almost 30 minutes. With blinds at 250K/500K ante 50K, Manta_Rays would stretch the chip lead 24.2 million to 7.6 million when the final hand of the tourney played itself out below:

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A $12K difference between the chop and second place cash as Manta_Rays' A♦6♥ would hold up against FEL777's J♣7♦ all-in preflop on the 2♥ Q♦ T♣ 3♠ 2♠ board as Manta_Rays claimed this week's Sunday Warm-Up and earned $100,072.70!

$500,000 guaranteed Sunday Warm-Up results (10-07-12):

Players Entered: 3,187
Places Paid: 495
Buy-in: $215.00
Prize Pool: $637,400.00
First Prize: $100,072.70

1. Manta_Rays (Sweden) $100,072.70
2. FEL777 (Russia) $74,575.80
3. ELLA368 (Russia) $52,585.50
4. superf1sh (Norway) $36,650.50
5. Baverx (Sweden) $27,089.50
6. m8675309a (Turks and Caicos Islands) $20,715.50
7. iamtheboss12 (Germany) $14,351.50
8. NCSU2012 (Costa Rica) $7,967.50
9. idvalentina (Romania) $5,099.20

David Aydt is a freelance contributor from Minnesota

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up