TCOOP: barrakko takes down Event 31 ($22 Stud H/L) for wife and country

13996-TCOOP-thumb.pngSplit, split, scoop. Split, split, scoop. Sounds like a popular children's game, doesn't it? And in fact it does involve a group of people sitting in a circle, trying not to be "It" - if you define "It" as "the person with no seat in the circle."

The salient difference: split, split, and scoop were the mechanics of a Stud Hi/Lo poker tournament where 1st prize was more than $10,000 and where one player's wife demanded that he win the tournament. Which, being a good husband, is exactly what he did.

2012 TCOOP Event 31, $22 Stud Hi-Lo was on the PokerStars menu on Wednesday. It fared slightly better than its $22 Stud counterpart did yesterday in attracting players. 3,119 signed up for Event 31, exactly 82 more than did for Event 26. That turnout meant that once again, the top prize in a TCOOP stud event would reach five figures. Finishing in 1stt place in Event 31 was worth $10,606.46. I'm not mathemagician, but that seems like an exceedingly healthy ROI for a $22 investment.

Exactly 400 of the 3,119 players in Event 31 would receive prize money. Among the vying 3,119 were precisely 10 members of Team PokerStars, Pro and Online. Team Pro Marcin "Goral" Horecki split and scooped his way to 309th place ($38.67); fellow Team Pro Nuno Coelho did slightly better by eking out a 277th-place finish for $39.92.

And then there was Team Pro Andre Akkari. With 40 players left in the tournament, Akkari was leading the charge. Unfortunately he wasn't able to bring it all the way home to the final table. A few quick beats ushered Akkari out the door in 17th place. He earned $233.92 in prize money.

Fifteen minutes after Akkari's elimination, the final table was set:

TCOOP-31 final table.jpg

Seat 1: rl1965 (1581431 in chips)
Seat 2: BeltBuster (758144 in chips)
Seat 3: went24 (714208 in chips)
Seat 4: I travel OZ (2608180 in chips)
Seat 5: kr.GeNa (3526566 in chips)
Seat 6: rxacht (1901476 in chips)
Seat 7: barrakko (3815363 in chips)
Seat 8: Partorg (689632 in chips)

Not "It"

The 300k/600k level was just about over as the final table began. Average chip stacks of 1.9 million ensured that the eliminations would be quick and frequent. The first occurred on the first hand.

went24 started the hand with a pair of split 9s, Q♥9♦ / 9♠. I travel OZ had been dealt buried kings. The full house, kings full of fives, that I travel OZ made by the river was overkill; went24 never improved from a pair of 9s for high and didn't make a qualifying low. went24 hit the rail in 8th place.

As Stud Hi-Lo is a split-pot game, an all-in confrontation does not necessarily result in an elimination most of the time. In fact, over the next eight hands, a few different players were all in but got a portion of the pot back by the river. That changed when rl1965 was dealt three babies, 8♠7♥ / A♣. With about one-half of a big bet in rl1965's stack, this was an obvious "go" hand. BeltBuster also had three babies, 2♣7♠ / 3♠. The race was on and was won by BeltBuster, whose hand improved to a pair of 3s for high and 8-7-6-3-2 for low. rl1965 showed high-card ace and a worse low, 8-7-6-5-A. rl1965 exited in 7th place with $1,185.22.

Within another eight hands, rxacht became the unenviable player in the position of "incredibly short stack who has to move with anything". For rxacht, "anything" was three clubs, 6♣J♣ / 7♣. A new competitor stepped to the fore to try to notch the knockout, as barrakko got in there with three small cards, A♠5♣ / 6♠. Two pair, aces and fives, won the hand for barrakko as rxacht could only improve to a pair of jacks and no low. rxacht's 6th-place reward was $1,871.40.

A blur of bust-outs

The next three bust-outs staccato. Partorg (5thh place), BeltBuster (4thh place) and I travel OZ (3rdd place) were all eliminated during the 600k / 1.2MM level - in the space of five hands. Partorg was first on the chopping block, as buried kings never improved and failed to hold against barrakko, who drew into a board of 4♣A♠ / 6♦4♥4♦2♥ / 3♠, trip 4s for high and a 6-4 for low.

BeltBuster's 4thh-place elimination by kr.GeNa was what most players would describe as "standard". Take a look:

RSS readers: Click through to see replay

I travel OZ tried to propose a deal with three players left, but before anyone else could agree I travel OZ was eliminated. I travel OZ moved all in on 4thh street holding 9♣3♠ / 2♥3♥, a pair of 3s. kr.GeNa called with 6♦3♣ / Q♣6♣, a pair of 6s. Nothing changed for either player by the river. I travel OZ busted in 3rd place.

Split, split, scoop

At the start of heads-up play, limits were up to 600k and 1.2 million. barrakko had seven big bets (8.3 million); Kr.GeNa had six (7.2 million). The last two players paused to the tournament to work out a deal. Chip-chop numbers were very close: $8,895.31 for barrakko, $8,686.75 for Kr.GeNa, and $500 for the champion.

At first it seemed as if barrakko had a change of heart on the deal. "Sorry," he said. "My wife says I have to win this tournament."

But after another minute or two, barrakko agreed to the modified payouts. kr.GeNa also agreed. The deal was in place.

From there it was seven hands to the winner. Twice kr.GeNa was all in; twice each player got half of the pot.

Split, split.

The third time, kr.GeNa was knocked out:

RSS readers: click through to see replay

Split, split, scoop.

Congratulations to barrakko on his TCOOP victory. I hope your wife is proud!

2012 TCOOP Event 31 $22 Stud Hi-Lo results (reflects two-way deal):

* 1st: barrakko ($9,395.31)
* 2nd: kr.GeNa ($8,686.75)
3rd: I travel OZ ($5,614.20)
4th: BeltBuster ($4,366.60)
5th: Partorg ($3,119.00)
6th: rxacht ($1,871.40)
7th: rl1965 ($1,185.22)
8th: went24 ($591.36)

If you've got a spouse to impress - or you just like cold, hard cash - there's still plenty of time to get involved in the 2012 TCOOP. Find all the TCOOP information you could possibly want at the TCOOP home page.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in TCOOP