TCOOP 2013: recusant_89 lays down the law in Event 26 ($27 Stud)

Chop-blocking is an art form in poker - a risky art form. Sometimes the blocks extract a few extra dollars out of a deal. Sometimes they fail, and both the blocker and the rest of the table are left to take their chances with the cards - for better and for worse. But chop-blockers can't only help or hurt themselves. In the 2013 Turbo Championship of Online Poker Event 26, $27 Stud, Pavel_Frants was the chop-blocker, but not the only beneficiary. That honor went to recusant_89, who won the event as a result of good timing, good play and chop-blocking by Pavel_Frants.

Limit-based games aren't as popular as their big-bet companions, and Stud isn't nearly as popular as hold'em no matter how the betting is structured. Thus a relatively tidy field of 2,407 players assembled for Event 26. 304 would cash for at least $44.31. Only would cash for five figures and claim the winner's share of $10,047.08

Turbo Stud didn't prove to be a big hit with the Team Pros or Team Online players. Just five entered; none cashed. George Danzer gave it the best run with a 430th-place finish. That was still more than 100 places away from the money.

The eight finalists certainly weren't crying into their beers about that.

TCOOP 2013 Event 26 final table.jpg

Seat 1: grooverr (901,358 in chips)
Seat 2: sparky2907 (385,610 in chips)
Seat 3: nkgud (1,540,757 in chips)
Seat 4: Y2JKID (2,766,418 in chips)
Seat 5: svetlyiy1980 (657,798 in chips)
Seat 6: recusant_89 (2,189,975 in chips)
Seat 7: Pavel_Frants (1,694,315 in chips)
Seat 8: MILF ISLAND (1,898,769 in chips)

Level 39: 200k-400k limits
Average: 1.5 million (3.75 big bets)

An average stack of 3.75 big bets basically gave the mythical average player exactly one hand to play to the river. The three short stacks had significantly fewer hand to take all the way. sparky2907 doubled early through MILF ISLAND, and thus first-out honor fell to grooverr. grooverr put a micro stack at risk with three spades to start. recusant_89 went for the kill with split jacks. Althgouh grooverr improved to a pair of kings, recusant_89 made a queen-high straight on the river to claim the pot and the elimination.

The other two short stacks quickly followed grooverr to the rail. sparky2907's three Broadway cards improved to only a lowly pair of fours after nkgud gave action. Just two of nkgud's three fives, A♠5♣ / K♥6♦5♥T♠ / 5♠, would have been enough for the knockout. The next hand, MILF ISLAND took care of svetlyiy1980 when MILF ISLAND's split tens made jacks and tens against sevetlyiy1980's pair of queens, T♦A♣ / Q♣9♦3♣Q♥ / 5♥.

The first deal attempt

Eight minutes into the final table, with the short stacks out of the way and the remaining five players closely stacked, the players paused to talk deal (and a rather random "shoutout to suitedconex4" from MILF ISLAND). The table host produced chip-chop numbers to which four players quickly agreed. The fifth, short stack Pavel_Frants, whose share was to be about $4,900, said, "no deal I need 5.5k or play."

The player requested ICM numbers, which lowered nkgud from about $7,400 to less than $6,700 and still only provided Pavel_Frants with $5,179. Pavel_Frants insisted on $5,500; nkgud stated "I am not going under 7K."

Two problems made the deal unlikely. The first was solved by offers of $50 from Y2JKID and recusant_89 ($5,279 being enough, apparently, to mollify Pavel_Frants). The second was stickier and ultimately proved incapable of being solved. 15 minutes of deal discussion proved fruitless. Play resumed.

MILF ISLAND took over the chip lead on the first hand back from break and immediately said, "Let's look at numbers." Yet the second hand, at the new limits of 300k-600k, was already underway. recusant_89 completed a jack and was raised by nkgud's queen. We'll let the hand replayer take it from there:

That hand crippled nkgud. One quick double-up was not enough to stave off elimination. Y2JKID claimed the honors by making a pair of kings against nkgud's pair of 6s after nkgud desperation-shoved 3♣6♠ / 9♠.

The second deal attempt

MILF ISLAND doubled the next hand before the tournament came to its second pause for deal discussions. Only eight minutes had elapsed. This time Pavel_Frants, still the short stack, said "give me all $100" after ICM numbers were presented. recusant_89 and Y2JKID offered to pony up $50 each. MILF ISLAND said, "I'll give you one minute to type agree and stop wasting my time."

Pavel_Frants refused to budge. At least the second time, the deal discussion collapsed after only six minutes.

Limits rolled up to 400k-800k. Pavel_Frants had only 1.2 million, yet doubled through MILF ISLAND with unimproved split 8s. Wild swings became the norm, as Y2JKID, MILF ISLAND and Pavel_Frants all took turns as the short stack. MILF ISLAND was the player who bought the farm first, as Q♠6♦ / A♥ couldn't get there against recusant_89's buried jacks.

Then came what I like to call the "dirty beat" of the tournament. Pavel_Frants offered to deal; recusant_89 and Y2JKID both agreed and clicked the "discuss deal" box. But before the tournament could be paused, Y2JKID got all in against Pavel_Frants and, well, take a look:

The third deal attempt

The heads-up stacks gave recusant_89 a more than 2-to-1 chip lead. This time, Pavel_Frants did not object to the ICM numbers as they were presented. Both players agreed to the deal.

The winner of the last $1,000 - and the tournament -- was all that remained to be decided. That took four hands. Pavel_Frants got the antes and bring-in for two of them; recusant_89 got significantly more in the other two. The last hand saw the two players get it in on 4th street. Pavel_Frants had A♣4♦9♣9♥ and was all in. recusant_89 called with 6♠Q♥Q♦3♣. Neither player improved from there.

At this turbo final table - which took about fifty minutes with all the breaks - recusant_89 played well and got lucky in the right spots. One of those spots was the refusal of Pavel_Frants to bow to the peer pressure of the other players in deal negotiations. That ultimately resulted in an increase of a few thousand dollars in recusant_89's prize for this TCOOP win.

2013 TCOOP Event 26 $27 Stud results (* denotes heads-up deal):

1st: recusant_89 ($9,446.05)*
2nd: Pavel_Frants ($7,692.05)*
3rd: Y2JKID ($5,592.45)
4th: MILF ISLAND ($4,136.42)
5th: nkgud ($2,954.59)
6th: svetlyiy1980 ($1,772.75)
7th: sparky2907 ($1,181.83)
8th: grooverr ($590.91)

The 2013 TCOOP is now more than half over. Find out everything you want to know about how the first half unfolded at the TCOOP home page.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in TCOOP