Sunday Warm-Up: Better than 2,577 players, BetrThanPhil wins $79K after three-way chop

As Football Fever rages on and Team PokerStars George Danzer collects World Series of Poker bracelets we are still handing out five figure sums here at the $500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up. Tonight's tournament would feature Steve "BetrThanPhil" Tripp notching a three-way deal with De Imho and ahe753 but getting the biggest piece of the chopped pie then cashing in with a victory worth $79,116.22

Eight and a half hours into the tournament and after the breakdown to two tables, Table 80 became a trap door for the players as the table saw four eliminations before the five minute hourly break. Iceface178 would exit in 13th place earning $2,578.00 on the final hand before the break leaving 12 players to collect their thoughts before the last push for the final table.

Leading the way, the reason for most of those eliminations on Table 80 was none other than Steve "BetrThanPhil" Tripp who last cashed in the Super Tuesday in February 2013 for $31K and holding a sizable chip lead. That chip lead would come in handy after bostanu24 (Romania) and Hoegh93 (Denmark) took home $3,222.50 each in 11th and 12th place.

During hand-for-hand play with the blinds up to 50K/100K ante 10K and Tripp's 8.5 million chip stack towering over third place in the chip count Mr. Cuckoo sitting on 2.7 million also at Table 80, there would be a double purging of the player population that left an eight person final table.

First, Die Ventura would shove 903,449 chips from the button as 4 to 1 Dog three bet to 1.85 million from the small blind. Tripp, holding pocket aces A♣A♦, four-bet to 2.79 million as 4 to 1 Dog called all-in with J♦A♥. Die Ventura needed a little magic with 6♠8♠ to prevent the chip leader's stack from overflowing and did as two eights hit the flop 9♠ 8♦ 8♣ K♦ Q♠ taking down the main pot while BetrThanPhil knocked out 4 to 1 Dog by claiming the side pot.

On the opposite table however another all-in situation was unfolding. ahe753 applied pressure from the small blind by open shoving for 3.6 million. Shortstacked user49109 would make the call for 758,117 chips holding K♥5♣. Behind ahe753's A♦8♦, user49109 would find a king on the 9♥K♠Q♠ flop but the elation quickly dissipated after the turned A♣. After the 6♣ fell on the river the eight player final table started up below:


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Seat 1: Die Ventura (2750347 in chips)
Seat 2: Dick_Fosbury (547868 in chips)
Seat 4: ahe753 (4567524 in chips)
Seat 5: Vitorbrasil (1271188 in chips)
Seat 6: De Imho (3062643 in chips)
Seat 7: BetrThanPhil (9018936 in chips)
Seat 8: mesterm1nd (1778324 in chips)
Seat 9: Mr.Cuckoo (2783170 in chips)

Hitting the flop, missing the rest

Dick Fosbury has been here before hitting the final table of the Sunday Warm-Up back in January of 2012 earning $31K in fifth place. Tonight's run for the Sunday Major title would end just five hands into the final table. With the blinds holding at 50K/100K ante 10K Dick_Fosbury would shove 995,736 chips from middle position as Vitorbrasil holding aces A♣A♦ shoved for 1.1 million from the small blind. Dick_Fosbury's J♠Q♣ caught a favorable flop with a straight draw 7♣ K♥ A♥ but could not get over the bar as the turn 4♦ and river 2♦ came up blank ending the night in eighth place ($7,476.20).


Better than Vitorbrasil

Despite knocking out Dick_Fosbury, Vitorbrasil would be the next to go. Also, a former final tablist here in 2013, nearly taking the crown as the runner-up earning $72K, Vitorbrasil would min-raise from early position as BetrThanPhil made the call from the cutoff to see a 6♣4♦8♥ flop. Vitorbrasil led for 255,550 as Tripp made it 642,389 to play. Vitorbrasil shove 1.83 million holding middle pair A♥6♠ as Tripp called with top pair T♦8♦. Two face cards on the Q♦ turn and J♠ river ended Vitorbrasil's night in seventh place ($12,116.60).


Lost wits, lost chips

Moving up to the 80K/160K ante 16K level Mr. Cuckoo down to under a million chips would shove for 936,656 from the button as ahe753 made the call from the big blind holding J♦K♠. Mr. Cuckoo's tournament life clung to a small ace 4♦A♠ that looked safe from the flop 2♥7♣9♥ but could not get past the turned jack J♠. With no help on the river T♠ Mr. Cuckoo hopefully found some peace earning $17,272.60 in fifth place.


Die Ventura perishes

Another former Super Tuesday final tablist, Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura, would unfortunately not find much luck when it mattered. Just as the blinds moved up to 100K/200K ante 20K mesterm1nd was scheming for chips as it folded around to the small blind. Second in chips, mesterm1nd, would shove for 5.1 million as Die Ventura decided to gamble with pocket deuces 2♠2♣ after calling all-in for 1.53 million. mesterm1nd was not playing the part of the bully holding a decent T♥A♥. The ducks would would sink twice, first with the turned ten, then a rivered straight Q♣ 8♦ J♣ T♦ K♦ earning Die Ventura $22,428.60 in fifth place.


No deal then no mesterm1nd

After a four-handed chop talk ended with BetrThanPhil still holding a sizable chip lead, Tripp went back to work for more. With the blinds up to 125K/250K ante 25K, Tripp would min-raise from the small blind as mesterm1nd was not going to curl up in the corner and wait for aces. Holding 3.66 million chips and J♥T♦ mesterm1nd would shove and got insta-called by BetrThanPhil's pocket queens Q♦Q♥. mesterm1nd would notch a small pair on the turn 3♣ 8♥ 8♣ T♠ Q♣ but Tripp's boat on the river sent mesterm1nd packing in fourth place ($30,157.44).


Now we have a deal

BetrThanPhil was holding out for chop figures that favored the big chip leader and finally got it as the threesome worked out the deal below leaving $8K for the winner:

BetrThanPhil (Canada): $71,116.22
De Imho (Netherlands): $55,500.00
ahe753 (Germany): $51,000.00


Who is stringing who along?

Sometimes the big hand looks like salvation for the holder. Other times like this one can leave a player staring at their screen for a hour after the table closes. Just before the blinds moved up, BetrThanPhil would min-raise from the button as ahe753 made the call from the small blind and De Imho declined to participate. Neither player bit on the 4♣9♥9♦ flop as ahe753 pushed out a 662,500 chip bet on the J♣ turn. The chip leader would make the call as the Q♦ river got ahe753 to shove 2.78 million on the river holding pocket aces A♣A♥. However, BetrThanPhil held better than aces with the flopped trips 9♣K♦. After calling ahe753 collected the $51,000.00 from the chop in third place.


One-two punch

Holding a 21.3 million to 4.4 million chip lead, BetrThanPhil held a huge advantage to finish off this Sunday Major victory. It would only take five hands. Just as the blinds moved up to 150K/300K ante 30K De Imho found a pocket pair 2♣2♠ and decided to make a stand by shoving from the button for 4.88 million. Two broadway cards J♣Q♥ were enough for Tripp to make the call. A jack on the flop 8♣ 6♦ J♦ A♦ A♥ would seal the victory as BetrThanPhil walked away with $79,116.22 as this week's Sunday Warm-Up champion!


PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up results (06-22-2014):

Players entered: 2,578
Places paid: 378
Prizepool: $515,600.00

(* denotes part of three-way deal)

1. Steve "BetrThanPhil" Tripp (Canada) *$79,116.22
2. De Imho (Netherlands) *$55,500.00
3. ahe753 (Germany) *$51,000.00
4. mesterm1nd (Denmark) $30,157.44
5. Die Ventura (Peru) $22,428.60
6. Mr.Cuckoo (Austria) $17,272.60
7. Vitorbrasil (Brazil) $12,116.60
8. Dick_Fosbury (Canada) $7,476.20
9. 4 to 1 Dog (Canada) $4.382.60

David Aydt is a freelance contributor

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up