TCOOP: ocropTi a perfect fit in Event 15, $55 NLHE (6-max, Hyper-Turbo)
If you've ever played a hand of live poker, you know that it's agonizingly slow compared to the online game - even if you only play one table at a time when you're checking and raising on your computer. So what do you do when you start to find even the regular game a bit too tortoiselike for your taste? Hit up the turbos! But what to do when even the turbos begin to feel like they take forever? Well, there you've got yourself a bit of a predicament - one for which today's hyper-turbo was tailor-made.
The brave souls who entered TCOOP Event 15 were a bit like bull riders trying to hold on as long as they could before being thrown off. Their bull? A starting stack of 5,000 chips. Levels lasting just three minutes. Starting blinds of 20/40 with 10-chip antes. That was enticement enough for 4,776 players to be ready and waiting for action as the tournament began at 11:30 a.m. ET, smashing the $150,000 guarantee to build the prize pool up to $257,000. Just 30 minutes later, with the blinds already up to 300/600 with a 120 ante, late registration was over and a total of 6,928 players had signed up. With $373,419.20 in the pot, 900 players making the money and $56,017.66 scheduled for the winner to take home, there was plenty for the survivors to anticipate.
Of course, nobody could look too far forward or something crazy might happen in the meantime. The entire tournament would end up lasting just two and a half hours, about the same as a little more than one blind level in a major brick-and-mortar tournament. The money bubble popped just 52 minutes into the tournament, at which point the number remaining players began to drop even faster than before. Among those who cashed were several members of Team PokerStars Pro, including Bryan Huang (587th, $115.75), Vicky Coren (539th, $123.22), and Marcin "Goral" Horecki (132nd, $298.73). Team Online also scored a few cashes thanks to Kristian "CharismA3" Martin (866th, $97.08) and Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby (847th, $97.08).
The one percent
By the time the second break of the tournament rolled around 1 hour and 25 minutes in, the starting field had been reduced by 99 percent. For the 66 players remaining the average stack was about 525K - yet they were left to contend with 20K/40K blinds and 9K antes. Russia's koka77 led the way with 1,359,843 chips, followed by Finland's 11_kert_11 (1,354,090 chips), Lithuania's JOKuERis (1,307,591 chips), Denmark's b0nk3ym0y12 (1,235,484 chips) and Germany's itSmin3z (1,116,635 chips). All were guaranteed at least $634.81 but had their minds on bigger prizes.
Down to just 2 tables with blinds of 150K/300K and antes of 60K, there was 625K in the middle at the start of every hand. Normally that might be quite a bit, but the average stack was now just 3.1 million chips so aggression was the theme of the moment. Pre-flop all-in moves, even from some of the biggest stacks, were correct in just about every case. Unsurprisingly, then, there was a ton of back-and-forth among the chip stacks as players jumped into the lead and then fell back again. Eventually Estonia's VVS777 busted on the bubble, finishing 7th ($3,846.21). That left a final table lineup that looked like this:
Seat 1: ocropTi (18,242,312 chips)
Seat 2: chillskill (2,895,015 chips)
Seat 3: Campbell-Gee (2,185,716 chips)
Seat 4: koka77 (5,854,016 chips)
Seat 5: StoyanB (4,260,654 chips)
Seat 6: amatos (1,202,287 chips)
First hand, first elimination
On the very first hand of the final table, action folded to Campbell-Gee on the button and the Australian opted to move all-in with Q♠ 5♥. koka77 woke up with pocket jacks in the small blind and shoved as well, and the A♣ 2♠ 9♥ 7♥ K♦ board made Campbell-Gee the first casualty of the final table. That 6th place finish was good for $5,601.28.
Second hand, second elimination
On the second hand of the final table, action folded to StoyanB and the Bulgarian player made a minimum raise holding 9♣ 2♣. Spain's amatos, who had just 362K behind after posting the big blind, was left with little choice and called all-in holding 5♠ 3♦. There was some hope for the short stack on the J♥ 4♥ 2♦ flop, but the 4♦ and 4♣ were blanks so amatos was out the puerta in 5th place ($9,380.29).
Third hand, third elimination
The third hand of the final table saw yet another elimination - this time from the player at the table with the most amusing avatar (at least for Curb Your Enthusiasm fans). The action folded to StoyanB on the button and the Bulgarian once again moved all-in, this time holding A♠ 3♠. Germany's ocropTi folded in the small blind, leaving Chile's chillskill with a decision in the big blind. The 1.84 million in the middle before StoyanB's bet was already more than the 1.695 million chillskill had left after posting the 800K big blind; after factoring in StoyanB's bet, chillskill opted to make the call with 5♥ 2♥. Once again the flop provided some drama, coming down 4♥ 6♣ K♦ to give chillskill a gutshot straight sraw. The 7♠ turn made that draw open-ended, but the 9♣ fell on the river and that was that; chillskill was busted in 4th place ($16,803.86).
Let's make a deal
At that point the three remaining players requested a look at the numbers for a possible deal. After a bit of negotiation, they had a deal in hand: $45,000 to ocropTi, $37,824.72 to StoyanB, and $37,408.39 to koka77, with $3,000 left on the table for the winner. A few moments later the deal was official and the three were back in action.
On the very first hand after the break the final table saw its next elimination. First to act on the button, koka77 shoved all-in holing A♠ 5♣ and got a call from StoyanB in the big blind with A♣ J♦. The board ran out Q♦ 3♦ K♥ J♠ 3♣, and a pair of jacks was good enough to send koka77 packing in 3rd place ($37,408.39)
From there, ocropTi leaned heavily on StoyanB, chipping away at his stack as quickly as the 400K/800K blinds and 160K antes would let him. StoyanB finally got all-in behind with 7♦ 3♦ against K♥ T♣, but the board came 6♦ 8♥ 8♣ 5♦ 9♥ for a straight and the match continued. Moments later, with StoyanB having chipped up to just 30,752 chips more than ocropTi, the two got their money in the middle in a coin flip: StoyanB held K♠ Q♠, while ocropTi held 4♦ 4♠. The 8♦ 8♣ 5♠ was both good news and bad for ocropTi: the good news is pocket fours were still ahead, but the bad news was they could easily be counterfeited if another higher board card paired. But the T♦ turn and 6♣ river were safe for the fours. Left with just a few chips, StoyanB managed to win two small pots before finally falling in 2nd place ($37,824.72).
Congratulations to all the final table players, and indeed everyone who managed to make the money in this frenetic tournament. At 2 hours and 35 minutes total running time, with the 15 minutes of negotiation time figured in, this was the single fastest tournament this reporter has ever covered.
TCOOP Event 15 - $55 NLHE (6-max, Hyper-Turbo)
6,928 entrants, $373,419.20 prize pool
1st place - ocropTi (Germany) - $$48,000*
2nd place - StoyanB (Bulgaria) - $37,824.72*
3rd place - koka77 (Russia) - $37,408.39*
4th place - chillskill (Chile) - $16,803.86
5th place - amatos (Spain) - $9,380.29
6th place - Campbell-Gee (Australia) - $5,601.28
* - denotes result of three-way deal