TCOOP 2013: FrankThomas8 hits a home run in Event 7 ($27+R NLHE)

Look, we understand. There's lots luck involved in turbo tournaments. But there's lots of skill involved as well. Take, for example, the 2013 Turbo Championship of Online Poker Event 7, $27+R NLHE. Canadian FrankThomas8 started that final table as the chip leader. He ended it at the top of the lineup, skillfully dodging some nasty breaking balls and smashing his way to a TCOOP 1st prize of more than $78,000.

If you thought a $400,000 guarantee on a $27 turbo rebuy was audacious, then you may not know how PokerStars players usually respond to TCOOP. Because of its affordable price points and small required time commitment, it is one of the most popular tournament series that PokerStars offers. 8,089 players backed that up by entering Event 7 and contributing an additional 9,046 rebuys and 4,209 add-ons.

Those numbers meant the mythical "average" player invested $67 in Event 7. He or she needed to finish in the top 1,080 places to receive the lowest payout of $110.03. The highest payout, an eye-popping $78,607.86, was reserved for the player deft enough to reach the final table and win the whole shebang.

The Red Spade was represented by three Team Online players and two Team Pros in Event 7. Of those five players, only Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen made the money, finishing a quite respectable 105th for $471.59.

The big money was slated for one of these nine players when the final table kicked off just after 16:00 server time:

TCOOP 2013 Event 7 final table.jpg

Seat 1: FrankThomas8 (7975764 in chips)
Seat 2: 7DonCool7 (160677 in chips)
Seat 3: lesmian (6966821 in chips)
Seat 4: wez_c4 (705357 in chips)
Seat 5: Všéta (1726015 in chips)
Seat 6: pokeralien77 (3345648 in chips)
Seat 7: Zaradar (3432041 in chips)
Seat 8: andryu77 (2581635 in chips)
Seat 9: jerry_cbb (2868042 in chips)

Level 45: 150k-300k blinds, 37.5k ante
Average: 3.3 million (11 BBs)

Three up, three down

Russian player andryu77 doubled through lesmian on the first hand of the final table by making K♦Q♦ work against A♦K♠ with a queen on the flop. That meant 7DonCool7, down to 123k in chips, led off the eliminations on the next hand, as A♣5♣ failed to hold off Zaradar's K♠Q♠, all in pre-flop. The killer card was the K♥ that hit the river.

A few hands later blinds increased to 200k-400k. wez_c4 moved all in twice, first earning a chop and then tripling to 1.4 million. Even with that triple, however, wez_c4 was still the short stack. Dealt K♥J♠, wez_c4 made a minimum-raise to 800k, then called off the rest after big blind jerry_cbb shoved all in. jerry_cbb showed Big Slick, A♠K♦, a hand that sent wez_c4 to the rail when neither player improved on a doubled-paired board.

The first two eliminations ensured that the remaining seven players would each walk away from Event 7 with five-figure additions to their PokerStars accounts. But the blinds increased to 300k-600k, pushing the average stack down to 7 big blinds. andryu77 suggested the players consider a deal, but chip leader FrankThomas8, with 7.5 million in chips, said, "Not now."

Ten minutes - an eternity in a turbo tournament - passed before another player was eliminated. The short stack, Všéta, pushed pocket jacks pre-flop for 1.57 million. FrankThomas8 called out of the blinds with ace-jack and paired an ace on the flop to strike out Všéta.

Three more easy outs

pokeralien77 got the best of two quick dust-ups with lesmian to grab the chip lead from FrankThomas8 and end lesmian's run in 6th place. First pokeralien77 made pocket queens stand up against lesmian's A♠Q♣ for a full double-up to 9.9 million. Three hands later pokeralien77 finished off lesmian by making two pair, aces and nines, against lesmian's unimproved 7♠8♥ on a K♠5♦9♥A♥2♦ board.

Between the two of them, FrankThomas8 and pokeralien77 had three-quarters of the chips. That left Zaradar, andryu77 and jerry_cbb fighting for the privilege of 3rd place. Zaradar was the first to bow out after Zaradar's kings got beat up in a three-way all in against andryu77's A♣T♣ and pokeralien77's 6♥3♥. It was the ace turn and ace river that sealed that pot for andryu77. FrankThomas8 supplied the mop-up work on Zaradar's paltry remaining chips two hands later.

andryu77 was similarly unlucky and as a result finished in 4th place. Down to 2.2 million, andryu77 called all in from the big blind with A♠6♦ against a raise from pokeralien77. The bare ace was looking good against pokeralien77's 5♥4[c] until an unlucky five hit the river, 8♥Q♥J♣K♣5♦.

Bottom of the 9th

The elimination of andryu77 in 4th place left jerry_cbb with 1.3 million chips, a distant third to FrankThomas8's 14.9 million and pokeralien77's 13.5 million. Yet in between the relentless pre-flop pouding of pots by FrankThomas8, jerry_cbb was able to double through pokeralien77 twice, all in pre-flop both times, to level their stacks at about 5 million each.

Blinds rolled up to 500k and a million. There wasn't much play left. jerry_cbb took down two pots uncontested to really put the squeeze on pokeralien77, who fell to 2.9 million. After that it was all FrankThomas8.

First, FrankThomas8 called pokeralien77's pre-flop shove. pokeralien77's K♥J♥ had the best of it against Q♠3♥ until a queen hit a rainbow flop. No king ever followed it, sending what had to be a stunned and disappointed pokeralien77 to the rail in 3rd place.

The next hand was the first and last hand of heads-up play. jerry_cbb, with 6.2 million, opened all in from the button. FrankThomas8, the 3-to-1 chip leader, called. At showdown, jerry_cbb was a slight underdog and needed K♥Q♣ to overtake FrankThomas8's A♥6♣. An ace on the flop and a six on the turn left jerry_cbb drawing dead before the river even came down.

In tournament poker, it only takes one curveball at the final table to ruin an otherwise perfect game, to turn a top-three finish into an early out for significantly less money. In Event 7, FrankThomas8 kept his eye on the ball and as a result hit it out of the park.

2013 TCOOP Event 7 $27+R NLHE results:

1st: FrankThomas8 ($78,607.86)
2nd: jerry_cbb ($57,833.35)
3rd: pokeralien77 ($41,919.61)
4th: andryu77 ($27,771.74)
5th: Zaradar ($21,483.80)
6th: lesmian ($16,243.85)
7th: Všéta ($11,265.89)
8th: wez_c4 ($6,287.94)
9th: Zaradar ($4,060.96)

This year's TCOOP has 50 events. With the completion of Event 7, that means there are 43 other events that you can play over the next 10 days. Peruse the TCOOP schedule, results, point standings and more at the TCOOP home page.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in TCOOP