TCOOP 2013: Winning better than dealing for Pookezz in Event 32 ($7.50+R NLHE)

Players like to do final-table deals in turbo tournaments. The rationale - a pretty solid one - is that the shallow stacks and quick blinds make the last few hands an exercise in luck. In the 2013 Turbo Championship of Online Poker Event 32, $7.50+R NLHE (3x-Turbo), the final three players tried to negotiate a deal. The short stack at that time, a player named Pookezz, asked for significantly more money than a chip-chop or ICM deal would provide. When the other two players balked, Pookezz went on to win the tournament.

These small buy-in rebuy events are very popular with PokerStars players. More than 19,000 players signed up for Event 32, who then executed 59,553 rebuys (an average of about three apiece) and 9,472 add-ons (one for every two players). All of those extra stacks bloated the prize pool to a shade more than $600,000. It would be divvied up by 2,475 in-the-money players, with the winner collecting approximately $65,000.

Micro-stacks grinder extraordinaire and Team PokerStars Pro Marcin "Goral" Horecki was at it again in Event 32. Horecki, who was the Player of the Series for MicroMillions I in March 2012, finished about halfway into the money in 1,348th place. The result earned Horecki $102.13 in prize money.

No other Team PokerStars Pros or PokerStars Team Online players made the money. The final table was rife with players looking for their first PokerStars major tournament series win.

TCOOP 2013 Event 32 final table.jpg

Seat 1: NA_OPITE (4942896 in chips)
Seat 2: yapiyapo1 (51210048 in chips)
Seat 3: TheRizlaaa (47729098 in chips)
Seat 4: gibs0024 (63648352 in chips)
Seat 5: Kimbalance (30649070 in chips)
Seat 6: charoff (12888876 in chips)
Seat 7: CandyJohnson (181591193 in chips)
Seat 8: Pookezz (87700723 in chips)
Seat 9: Zappigon (39659744 in chips)

Level 58: 2.5M-5M blinds, 625k ante
Average: 57.8 million (11.5 BBs)

Guns blazing

The imbalance of the stacks and the high blinds ensured that there would be plenty of early s hoving. NA_OPITE was the first player to shove all in, moving in for 4.3 million with A♣5♣ from early position. charoff had been dealt pocket queens and re-shoved. All other players folded. A T♣8♦8♣ flop gave NA_OPITE a flush draw to go along with an ace overcard, and the turn 5♠ provided a few more outs. But a brick on the river, 4♥, sent NA_OPITE out of the tournament in 9th place.

Kimbalance soon followed NA_OPITE out the door. In the same spot, third to act, Kimbalance shoved A♠Q♥ for 28 million and change. Pookeez re-shoved, like charoff before, only Pookeez had pocket kings, not pocket queens. Kimbalance paired queens on a queen-high flop, T♠7♣Q♠, but couldn't bring it home from there as the board blanked out. 8th place was worth $5,407 for Kimbalance.

The play settled somewhat once the two shortest stacks were eliminated. The tournament became a contest of small raises and stealing blinds. That changed when Zappigon, the new short stack at 14.6 million, shoved the button and yapiyapo1 re-shoved from the small blind. Zappigon had a slight edge, A♥7♠ versus Q♠J♦, but yapiyapo1 paired queens on the flop, T♦Q♣8♠. Cue up two more bricks on the turn and river to send Zappigon packing in 7th place.

From 6 to 3

After Zappigon's elimination, there were four players with stacks in the 45 million to 60 million range (at blinds of 4 million and 8 million). Pookezz was in 2nd place with 101 million and CandyJohnson led with 201 million. Fortunes started changing when charoff, the shortest stack, shoved A♥T♥ for 38.6 million. Here's how the hand played out:

CandyJohnson, the chip leader to start the final table, had no problem chipping up without actually going to showdown. But a showdown was called for when gibs0024 shoved the small blind for 18.8 million and CandyJohnson woke up with A♥K♦. A paired flop, Q♠6♥Q♦, raised the specter of a chopped pot, but the turn 3♥ and river 8♠ did not deliver. Instead they sent gibs0024 out of the tournament in 5th place.

The next hand, TheRizlaaa shoved 53.7 million as first to act. yapiyapo1, in the big blind with K♥Q♦ and a big stack, called. TheRizlaaa showed down J♦8♦. Each player paired on the flop, 8♥4♠K♣. yapiyapo1's pair of kings were best at that point and remained so through a 3♦ turn and 2♣ river.

Pookezz blocks a deal

Three players were left. CandyJohnson, the chip leader, suggested a deal. yapiyapo1 agreed. Pookezz responded in a curious manner.

"I'm on phone." It wasn't clear at first what Pookezz meant. The clarification came a moment later.

"Can I deal on iPhone?" Pookezz was playing the tournament on the mobile version of the game client - on an iPhone - and wasn't sure how to check the "Discuss deal" button through an iPhone. Thankfully, the table host quickly arranged for a pause in the action after confirming that Pookezz did, in fact, want to talk about a deal.

As the chip leader, CandyJohnson naturally proposed a chip-chop deal. The other two players put a quick stop to that.

"Nope, ICM," said yapiyapo1.
"Never going to take chip chop," short-stacked Pookezz added. CandyJohnson relented and agreed to consider the ICM numbers but requested that the chip-chop numbers also be provided. Those numbers came first: $55,948.35 for CandyJohnson, $47,741.57 for yapiyapo1 and $43,241.58 for Pookezz. The ICM numbers smoothed the payouts substantially: $53,056.59 for CandyJohnson, $49,409.27 for yapiyapo1 and $44,465.64 for Pookezz.

CandyJohnson and yapiyapo1 agreed to the ICM numbers in short order. Pookezz, the short stack, said, "I want 50k. 50k and we have a deal." yapiyapo1 laughed.

Pookezz didn't give up. "Give me a better offer or we continue to play.

"Then we flip for it," said CandyJohnson. "Not giving anything extra."
"Me too," yapiyapo1 agreed.

Last player standing

The deal collapsed and play resumed. Pookezz doubled on the first hand by making pocket 9s hold up against CandyJohnson's shove from the small blind with K♥8♦. That double-up gave Pookezz some breath room, although Pookezz was still the short stack.

Three hands later yapiyapo1 shoved. CandyJohnson tanked, then called with A♠7♣. yapiyapo1 showed K♥T♣ and looked to be headed for the rail after an ace-high flop, 8♥6♦A♥. But the turn and river finally helped the player who was behind after the flop, as they came running hearts to gave yapiyapo1 a flush and the new chip lead.

It was CandyJohnson's turn to double up after that. yapiyapo1 shoved the small blind with T♦8♣; CandyJohnson called with A♠9♠. Neither player improved. A few hands later the double-up magic was back to Pookezz, who picked up pocket aces and got all in against yapiyapo1's A♦5♥. Aces held up.

At the 6pm break, CandyJohnson and Pookezz were neck-and-neck for the chip lead with around 225 million each. yapiyapo1 was back in the role of short stack at 70 million. Pookezz suggested they look at the deal numbers again. CandyJohnson agreed. yapiyapo1 did not respond.

Blinds moved up to 7 million and 14 million. The players traded blinds and antes for several rounds. yapiyapo1 got the best of it; Pookezz took the worst of it. Pookezz mistimed a shove with 5♠6♦ and got called by yapiyapo1's A♦3♠. A board of K♣8♣5♣K♥7♣ paired Pookezz's five and delivered a big double-up to the short stack. One hand later the crippled yapiyapo1 was out in 3rd place.

The stacks were close to start heads-up play. On the fourth hand, Pookezz opened the button to 28 million. CandyJohnson shoved for 270 million, putting Pookezz to a stack decision. Pookezz called all in for 218 million more and showed down A♦T♥. It held up against CandyJohnson's K♠8♦ on a 9♣J♦9♦3♥A♣ board.

That hand left CandyJohnson with 23.5 million chips. Two double-ups in three hands gave CandyJohnson a fighting chance. Up to 95.8 million, CandyJohnson shoved A♥T♣. Pookezz called with A♦8♠ and, after a Q♣3♣2♣ flop, it seemed certain CandyJohnson would double again. Yet Pookezz spiked a two-outer on the turn with the 8♥, and closed out CandyJohnson in 2nd palce when the river fell 4♦.

2013 TCOOP Event 32 $7.50+R NLHE (3x-Turbo) results:

1st: Pookezz ($64,813.39)
2nd: CandyJohnson ($51,066.93)
3rd: yapiyapo1 ($39,051.18)
4th: TheRizlaaa ($27,035.43)
5th: gibs0024 ($21,027.56)
6th: yapiyapo1 ($15,019.68)
7th: Zappigon ($9,011.81)
8th: Kimbalance ($5,407.08)
9th: NA_OPITE ($3,604.72)

We're headed towards the home stretch of the 2013 TCOOP. Only three days of events remain. Get all the TCOOP information on those events and the events that have already been played at the TCOOP home page.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in TCOOP