Sunday Warm-Up: Van Zadelhoff vanquishes field, banks $80k

Let's take a little journey back in time, poker fans. It was April, 2007. Jamie Gold was the reigning WSOP Main Event champion, the European Poker Tour was just just finding its legs, and Dutchman Steven Van Zadelhoff was a wide-eyed amateur player eyeing a pro career in a booming online poker landscape. That month, Van Zadelhoff, encouraged by his girlfriend, entered the Sunday Million and came away with his first major title and a $160,000 bankroll infusion. That score paved the way for Van Zadelhoff to play full-time and he added hundreds of thousands more in earnings that year with a runner-up finish in an FTOPS event and an 11th-place finish at the inaugural WSOP-Europe Main Event. More than eight years later, Van Zadelhoff has earned over $3 million in online MTTs and another $1.2 million live, good for 14th on the all-time Money List in his native Netherlands. Tonight, playing from his adopted home of Malta, Van Zadelhoff added another feather in his cap with a victory the Sunday Warm-Up and an $80k score.

This week's Warm-Up drew a crowd of 2,556 players. 378 of them earned a share of the $511,200 prize pool, with $80,769.86 set aside for the winner.

The blinds were up to 65,000/130,000 with ten players remaining. Four of them had stacks hovering around the 10BB mark as play went hand-for-hand on the final table bubble. With the action folded to him in the small blind, JLlama open-shoved for 1.18 million with J♥5♥ hoping to steal the blinds, but ran headlong into Jerman027's A♦K♦. An ace on the flop and a king on the river gave the pot to Jerman027 and a disappointed JLlama hit the rail in tenth place.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: dirty.brasil (1,389,577 in chips)
Seat 2: Jerman027 (9,055,287 in chips)
Seat 3: Kabotajoe (4,857,353 in chips)
Seat 4: The_SeS (1,393,136 in chips)
Seat 5: gostyniak (490,571 in chips)
Seat 6: zapolini (826,416 in chips)
Seat 7: Madcandle (1,718,716 in chips)
Seat 8: SvZff (4,576,560 in chips)
Seat 9: oberrammler (1,252,384 in chips)

Two short stacks scored double-ups in the first two hands. On Hand #1, gostyniak's A♣4♣ held up against Kabotajoe's 7♠T♠ to take his stack up to 1.2 million and on Hand #2, zapolini's pocket jacks held up against dirty.brasil's pocket tens. Dirty.brasil was left with only 693,000 after the hand and was eliminated in ninth place a short time later, his A♣3♠ falling to Kabotajoe's 8♣9♦ when a nine hit the flop. Then, on the very next deal, Madcandle four-bet shoved for 2.12 million with A♦K♥ and Jerman027 looked him up with J♠J♣. Although Madcandle hit an ace on the flop, a jack was right behind it and Jerman027 raked in the 4.6 million pot with a set, ending Madcandle's run in eighth place.

With the blinds up to 80,000/160,000 gostyniak slipped below a million in chips and committed the rest of his stack preflop with 6♠6♦. Kabotajoe answered the call with A♥J♥ and flopped an ace, sending gostyniak to the rail in seventh place. Next out the door was oberrammler, who pushed from the small blind with Q♥J♦ and ran into Jerman027's A♥6♣ in the big. Jerman027 flopped an ace and rivered aces up on the A♦J♠5♥7♥6♥ board, finishing off ovverrammler in sixth place.

Three hands later, The_SeS open-shoved for 1.43 million on the button with K♠J♠ and zapolini immediately reshoved from the small blind with A♣K♦. The 8♦5♠5♣ flop was safe for zapolini, but his dominating hand was crushed by the J♥ that fell on the turn. The river was the 9♠ and The_SeS doubled to 3.1 million, leaving zapolini on only 449,000. Zapolini moved in on the next deal with K♥4♠, but couldn't beat the flush Steven "SvZff" Van Zadelhoff turned with A♦8♦.

During four-handed play, Kabotajoe turned his attention to chip leader Jerman027 and won a coinflip for all his chips when his pocket eights held up against Jerman027's A♠Q♣. The hand boosted Kabotajoe to 6.9 million and left Jerman027 with 8.9 million. However, Jerman027 instantly rebounded when he made aces and sixes against SvZff's sevens and sixes on the next hand. The blinds rose to 100,000/200,000 when Kabotajoe found A♣Q♦ and made it 450,000 to go, only to be met with a three-bet shove for 3.4 million from SvZff. Kabotajoe called and was up against A♠K♦. Van Zadelhoff's dominating hand held up on the 5♠3♦3♥6♣2♠ board and he vaulted to 7.1 million in chips.

Van Zadelhoff's rush continued when The_SeS made a 2.25 million small blind shove and he woke up with A♠Q♣ in the big blind. The_SeS's K♠5♦ got no help from the Q♦6♦2♥4♠T♦ board and he went out in fourth place while Van Zadelhoff chipped up to 9.27 million.

When three-handed play commenced, Jerman027 held 9.63 million, Van Zadelhoff was close behind with 9.27 million, and Kabotajoe was the short stack with 6.66 million.

Van Zadelhoff seized the chip lead when Kabotajoe limped in from the small blind with 4♥5♠, giving him a free look at the flop with K♣3♣. The flop fell 7♣3♦2♠ --middle pair for Van Zadelhoff and an open-ended straight draw for Kabotajoe. Kabotajoe led out for 216,200 with his draw and Van Zadelhoff called. Van Zadelhoff hit the perfect card when the K♠ turned, giving him kings and threes. Even better, Kabotajoe did his bidding for him, leading out for 567,592. Again, Van Zadelhoff smooth-called. The 9♠ river wasn't what Kabotajoe was looking for, but nevertheless, he bluffed at the pot for 1,275,998 with his busted draw. Van Zadelhoff called and took down the 4.58 million pot with kings up. Kabotajoe sank to 3.92 million while Van Zadelhoff assumed the chip lead with 12.1 million.

A few hands later, Kabotajoe opened his button for 562,500 and Jerman027 defended his big blind. The flop came down T♥7♦6♥ and Jerman027 check-called Kabotajoe's 782,750 bet. The turn was the J♥ and Jerman027 moved all-in for 3.96 million. Kabotajoe quickly called off his remaining 2.29 million and turned up A♣A♠, but they were no good against Jerman027's flush with the lowly 3♥5♥. The river was the 9♦ and Kabotajoe was out in third place, setting the stage for a fierce heads-up match.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: Jerman027 (9,139,040 in chips)
Seat 8: SvZff (16,420,960 in chips)

Jerman027 and SvZff battled for over 40 minutes with the lead swinging back and forth several times. Jerman027 struck first in a pot where he happened to be bluffing with the best hand. On a 8♠7♣2♥ flop, SvZff check-called 577,500 from Jerman027 and check-called another 1.21 million when the A♠ turned. When the 3♦ rivered, SvZff checked a third time and Jerman027 gave up and checked behind. SvZff had only 5♠6♠ for a busted straight draw and Jerman027 walked off with the 4.63 million pot with J♣4♥... ace high with a jack kicker. Jerman027 moved up to 11.2 million and SvZff fell to 14.4 million.

At this stage, Jerman027 asked Van Zadelhoff if he was interested in a deal. "Naaah, let's gamble," the Dutchman replied.

Jerman027 evened the chip counts when he three-bet to 1.75 million preflop and shoved on the 9♣6♣5♥ flop. SvZff gave up his hand and was left with 12.9 million to Jerman027's 12.65 million. However, Van Zadelhoff roared back when his K♦8♥ flopped two pair against Jerman027's A♥4♥. Jerman027 checked the Q♥Q♦8♠ flop, SvZff bet 588,240 and Jerman027 raised to 1.18 million. SvZff called and they went to the turn, which fell the 5♦. Jerman027 led out for 1.5 million and SvZff called. The river was the 7♣ and Jerman027 slowed down and checked. SvZff checked behind and raked in the 6.72 million pot with queens and eights. SvZff was up to 14.4 million while Jerman027 slipped to 11.1 million.

Van Zadelhoff pulled away when he three-bet to 1,548,000 out of the big blind and checked the ensuing 9♦8♣5♣ flop. Jerman027 bet 1.8 million, Van Zadelhoff moved all-in and Jerman027 gave up his hand, saving his last 6.2 million. Then, with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, Van Zadelhoff picked up A♦K♥ and opened for 872,000 on the button. Jerman027 moved all-in with A♣T♥ and Van Zadelhoff snap-called. Jerman027's dominated hand did not improve on the Q♠6♦4♦9♠J♠ board and Van Zadelhoff locked up his first Sunday Warm-Up title.

Congratulations to Steven "SvZff" Van Zadelhoff on a brilliant performance! He banked $80,769.86 for the win, while runner-up Jerman027 earned $60,321.60.


Newly minted Warm-Up champ Steven "SvZff" Van Zadelhoff

PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up results for 11-15-2015

Players: 2,556
Prizepool: $511,200.00
Places paid: 378

1. Steven "SvZff" Van Zadelhoff (Malta) $80,769.86
2. Jerman027 (Cyprus) $60,321.60
3. Kabotajoe (Germany) $42,940.80
4. The_SeS (Netherlands) $29,900.08
5. zapolini (Slovenia) $22,237.20
6. oberrammler (Germany) $17,125.20
7. gostyniak (Poland) $12,013.20
8. Madcandle (Finland) $7,412.40
9. Noah "dirty.brasil" Vaillacourt (Canada) $4,345.20

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up