Sunday Warm-Up: Pop the bubbly! j_kork claims $88K and the win

Tonight's final table of the $500,000 guaranteed Sunday Warm-Up featured a SCOOP champion, a former champ of this very event, and a TCOOP champ. But, none of them would take a second title this evening. The TCOOP champ 88Xin88 had the best shot, getting into heads-up play against j_kork. After tacking the 2,794 player field, j_kork would win one big flip at the end and claim the $88,011.87 win tonight.

The stone bubble. Many poker players will complain about "bubbling" a tournament after coming within last ten or so spots within the money. Today, a Red Spade's name would sit next to the unfortunate real money bubble spot. Challenger Winner Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas finished in 415th place out of 414 places paid to finish outside the money and unable to duplicate his cash in the June 2nd Sunday Million.

The day was not lost for the Red Spades as Marcin "goral" Horecki who polished off another Player of the Series title in the SCOOP 2013 series winning the low buy-in bracket, would manage a small cash today taking $379.98 (296th place).

Closer to the final table with two tables left we picked up the action with 11 players going to the ninth hourly break and blinds at 40K/80K ante 8K. 13th place eamonn2009 ($2,654.30) was unable to cap off another Sunday Major final table after making the Sunday Million final table back in October earning $15K. A three-bet bluff preflop for eamonn2009 got called by PizzicateXev whose pocket nines 9♦9♣ took down eamonn2009's 8♠Q♥ for a three million chip pot after the 6♠ A♥ J♣ T♥ 3♠ board blanked for both players.

Shortly after play resumed 88Xin88's pocket tens T♣T♦ told FannyPacks' deuces 2♥2♦ to zip up 11th place cash ($3,492.50) after the J♥ 3♦ 4♥ 4♠ 4♦ board failed to help either player. The wait was not long for the final table start as the blinds moved up to 50K/100K ante 10K Archibald would find pocket fours 4♦4♥ in the small blind and open-shoved for 1.5 million. PizzicatoXev covered in the big blind and more than happy to call with pocket jacks J♦J♥. Despite the four-flush on the Q♦ K♦ 6♥ 3♦ 2♦ board, PizzicatoXev's jack would close down the table, and open up the final table below:


Seat 1: Jollymakky (1756253 in chips)
Seat 2: o23oSyD (3005767 in chips)
Seat 3: btvedt (1848536 in chips)
Seat 4: JEKAAA7 (1664542 in chips)
Seat 5: j_kork (5171443 in chips)
Seat 6: C. Darwin2 (822714 in chips)
Seat 7: 88Xin88 (3969087 in chips)
Seat 8: PizzicatoXev (6515541 in chips)
Seat 9: camikater (3186117 in chips)

Bright side of losing

Ten minutes into the final table with the blinds staying at 50K/100K ante 10K, PizzicatoXev, who entered the final table as the chip leader would get knocked all the way to shortstack after catching the horrible cooler: aces versus kings. After losing the 11.4 million chip pot to j_kork, on the next hand PizzicatoXev folded despite only holding 482,981 chips and it turned out to be a great decision. Jollymakky decided to shove 1.7 million over the top of camikater's raise as it folded back to camikater holding big slick A♦K♥ to make the call. Kicker problems for Jollymakky's A♠Q♦ equaled ninth place and $4,749.80 in real money after the 7♦ T♣ 3♦ 5♦ T♥ failed to assist and PizzicatoXev moved up at least one pay spot.

Not for long

Any chip-and-a-chair type story lines ended four hands later for PizzicatoXev. With the blinds moving up to 65K/130K ante 13K, PizzicatoXev would open shove from UTG for 424,981 chips and get calls from j_kork on the button and 88Xin88 in the big blind. On the river 9♥ 5♦ 8♣ T♥ 2♣ with 2.4 million in the pot 88Xin88 bet 878,765 to get rid of j_kork and revealed T♠8♥ for two pair as PizzicatoXev's K♥3♥ missed completely to earn $7,554.97 in eighth place. A sad ending for PizzicatoXev as the attempt to become a two-time winner of this event (May 2011 for $106K) would fall short.

Fast times at the Sunday Warm-Up final table

On the next hand it was btvedt's time to try to climb out of a hole. With only 925.036 chips, the shortstack would shove from early position as it folded around to camikater in the big blind holding T♠K♦. camikater covered and made the call as btvedt's ace high 8♥A♦ failed to get pass the king doorcard K♣ 9♣ 4♦ Q♠ T♥ earning btvedt $13,131.80 in seventh place.

Unkorking another big pot

j_kork won the biggest pot of the tournament to this point against PizzicatoXev for 11.4 million. Seven minutes later, the chip leader would take down this 13.5 million chip beast against camikater:

RSS readers please click through to view video

Huge hand for both players as camikater caught pocket aces A♣A♠ and got them in preflop against the chip leader's big slick A♦K♣. Ideal situation? Yes. Ideal ending? For j_kork perhaps as four diamonds 8♠ 7♦ 4♦ J♦ Q♦ hit the board giving j_kork the 13.5 million chip pot and giving camikater a $18,719.80 bad beat story in sixth place.

More kork, less SyD

Five minutes later with the blinds still in the 65K/130K ante 13K blind level o23oSyD would min-raise from the button as j_kork took exception to someone trying to pick off the big blind and shoved for 16.9 million chips. Holding A♣T♥ o23oSyD made a gut-check call and it was the right one as j_kork was playing bully with 8♥Q♦. Unfortunately for o23oSyD, a flopped two pair 9♣ Q♠ 8♣ 7♦ 7♥ for the chip leader meant the good call was for naught ending the night in fifth place ($24,307.80). In an odd twist of fate, o23oSyD also finished in fifth place when PizzicatoXev won this event in May 2011.

Aces DO win sometimes

Five hands later with j_kork's chip stack now eclipsing 20 million chips JEKAAA7 tried to carve off at least 1.26 million chips by shoving from the button. j_kork in the small blind three-bet to 2.99 million shutting out C.Darwin in the big blind. A♦Q♥ is normally a big hand during four-handed play but j_kork's pocket aces A♣A♥ would knockdown JEKAAA7's hand easily on the J♥ 6♣ 9♥ J♠ 7♥ board to acquire the 2.7 million chip pot and hand $32,131.00 to JEKAAA7 in fourth place.

Natural selection

The strongest will survive as noted by Charles Darwin. Tonight's alpha player, j_kork, has proven this theory during the Sunday Warm-Up tonight by wiping out nearly the entire table. As the blinds moved up to 80K/160K ante 16K C. Darwin2 (not the naturalist who, as far as we know, died in 1882) would shove 3.68 million chip over the top of two raises by 88Xin88 and j_kork. 88Xin88 folded but j_kork's A♦T♦ did not and faced a flip against C.Darwin2's pocket sevens 7♣7♦. C. Darwin2 almost broke the famous theory but an ace on the river Q♣ 3♥ J♣ 9♠ A♠ allowed the chip leader to continue pummeling this final table, knocking out C. Darwin2 in third place ($46,939.20). The 2012 SCOOP champ (Event #34-M for $38K) would fall just short of adding a Sunday Major.

Under five minutes for the W

The 18.4 million to 9.5 million chip deficit proved to be too much for 88Xin88 despite taking down the first three hands of heads-up play that briefly flipped the chip lead in 88Xin88's favor. Instead of fighting things out, the players decided to end this tournament on the below 26.7 million chip coin flip:

RSS readers please click through to view video

Pocket tens T♦T♥ for 88Xin88 would be shot down by j_kork's Q♣A♦ on the turn 6♥ 7♦ 3♦ Q♦ 7♣ to ship the tournament turning pot to j_kork. On the next hand with 1.23 million left and blinds at 80K/160K ante 16K 88Xin88 shoved again, this time dominated with 7♠K♥ versus K♣8♠ for j_kork. Eight on the door 8♥ A♦ 9♣ T♦ A♠ and 88Xin88 was no more as j_kork took down the Sunday Warm-Up title for $88,011.87!

PokerStars $500,00 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up results (06-30-13):

1. j_kork (Greece) $88,011.87
2. 88Xin88 (Canada) $65,659.00
3. C. Darwin2 (Sweden) $46,939.20
4. JEKAAA7 (Ukraine) $32,131.00
5. o23oSyD (Germany) $24,307.80
6. camikater (Germany) $18,719.80
7. btvedt (Norway) $13,131.80
8. PizzicatoXev (United Kingdom) $7,554.97
9. Jollymakky (Czech Republic) $4,749.80

David Aydt is a freelance contributor

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up