TCOOP 2013: jogin23 sprints to a win in Event #1, $27 NLHE (6-max)
There are lots of excellent big-money poker tournaments around the world in January. The ongoing PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, for instance, is a big favorite with players from all over thanks to its diverse schedule and big prize pools. Other tournaments in Australia and North America draw big crowds, too. But one thing about all of those tournaments is that they take some time to play. Sometimes you just want to get in, get out, and take home a five-figure payday before dinner. And that's why TCOOP was invented.
Event 1, a $27 6-max no-limit hold'em event with a $750,000 guaranteed prize pool, was an ideal event to kick off the premier series of turbo online poker tournaments. The shorthanded tables and the five-minute blind levels would work together to drive the action, and the winner would take home a decent year's salary in less time than there is in most people's average work day. The 38,176 players who turned up all agreed, pushing the prize pool well past the guarantee, all the way up to $937,220.80.
The money bubble popped just after the second break of the day when Peru's Paul_Alcazar busted in 4,801st place. Within 15 minutes the first 1,000 players to cash had claimed their $46.86 prizes; only 10 minutes later the next thousand were gone. By the third break just 774 players remained in the hunt for the first TCOOP title of 2013.
Rocky road for an ex-champ
Things moved quickly enough that by the fifth break of the day we were on the cusp of the final table. With blinds at 700K/1.4M, Germany's dev209, winner of Event 58 during last fall's MicroMillions III, led the remaining 11 players with 40.22 million chips. Trailing were Romania's sascha_me (35.22 million) and Germany's machomei (29.63 million). Of the three, only dev209 would miss out on the final table (and a chance at another PokerStars tournament title). machomei came to the final table short on chips, but sascha_me surged into the lead with more than 80 million as the final table closed in.
With eight players left it looked as if sascha_me would eliminate two players at once, but jogin23 of Slovakia pulled off an upset to keep the bubble intact:
By the time Germany's Jafeeio busted in 7th to set the final table, the blinds were up to 1M/2M with a 250K ante. These six players remained in the action:
Seat 1: suzy2009 (17,262,176 in chips)
Seat 2: jogin23 (38,998,959 in chips)
Seat 3: sascha_me (82,996,148 in chips)
Seat 4: machomei (9,880,546 in chips)
Seat 5: luda777k (8,724,108 in chips)
Seat 6: newkorea (33,018,063 in chips)
Within just a few hands the players agreed to look at the numbers for a possible deal. It didn't take long for everyone to agree on splitting up the prize pool according to ICM and leaving $15,000 on the table for the winner, and play got back underway at 5:26 p.m. ET. Three of the next four hands would see a short stack put at risk. First it was Russia's luda777k, who moved all-in with K♦ J♣ and was called by chip leader sascha_me, who held Q♠ 5♠ but could've called with much worse. The board read T♣ 6♦ 2♠ 9♠ through the turn and threatened to flush luda777k out, but the J♥ on the river kept the Russian in the game.
So long, luda777k
The next hand was a raise-and-take-it, but sascha_me claimed the first knockout of the final table on the one after it. The chip leader min-raised on the button with Q♥ T♦ and called when luda777k shoved for another three big blinds with Q♠ J♥. Despite being dominated, sascha_me won the 24.39M-chip pot with a straight when the board fell K♠ 8♣ 8♥ J♣ A♦, and luda777k left in 6th place ($14,743.77).
I've got be a machomei
Caught in the middle of the pack, jogin23 was able to eke out a little breathing room on the very next hand, just as the blinds rose to 1.25M/2.5M. The Slovak player raised to 6.25M under the gun with 9♠ 9♦ and called after machomei moved all-in 2M more. It was a coin flip against machomei's A♣ T♦, and the pocket pair held up as the board fell 8♠ 8♣ 6♥ 2♥ K♥ to eliminate machomei in 5th place ($25,703.51).
Bye-bye suzy, bye-bye
Only four more hands would pass before the last remaining short stack, Slovenia's suzy2009, made a stand. The Slovenian player moved all-in for 12.19M from the big blind after sascha_me min-raised to 5M on the button. sascha_me called with K♣ Q♣ and was up against A♥ 5♥. The 6♣ K♦ 6♠ flop was nothing but trouble for suzy2009, but the A♣ put the Slovenian back in the lead. All nine outs missed on the river for sascha_me and suzy2009 doubled up to 26.89M.
But the very next hand would be the end of the line for suzy2009. Once again the action opened with a raise from sascha_me. Germany's newkorea called on the button before suzy2009 shoved for 26.58M from the small blind. Both newkorea and sascha_me made the call, but newkorea folded with just 7.8M behind after sascha_me led out on the K♠ Q♠ 4♥ flop. That left just suzy2009 (with T♥ T♠) and sascha_me (with K♣ Q♦) in the hand, and after the board ran out 7♦ A♣ suzy2009 was out in 4th place ($26,803.87).
Old Korea, newkorea, let's call the whole thing off
After calling preflop but folding on the flop the hand before, newkorea was left with just a few big blinds. A shove from the button stole the blinds on the next hand, but the after that would be the last for the German player. newkorea moved in for 9.36M from the small blind holding 7♥ 9♥ and jogin23 called with J♥ T♥. The A♣ Q♠ T♣ 4♣ 5♣ changed nothing, and newkorea was out in 3rd place ($48,437.62).
Familiar foes meet again
As heads-up play began, sascha_me held a lead of nearly 2-to-1 against the player who had cracked the Romanian's pocket queens back on the final table bubble:
Seat 2: jogin23 (64,185,716 in chips)
Seat 3: sascha_me (126,694,284 in chips)
For the first 13 hands jogin23 tried to stay aggressive and picked up several pots, but the Slovak player had to back down whenever sascha_me decided to put that big stack to work. Finally, on hand #14 of heads-up play, jogin23 caught a break, getting all 56.87M chips in the middle before the flop with A♥ K♠ against sascha_me's A♦ T♣. The board fell Q♣ 9♦ 2♣ 8♥ 4♦, Big Slick held up, and jogin23 was now the chip leader with 114.49M.
A few hands later, with blinds up to 1.5M/3M, sascha_me grabbed a 30.75M-chip pot after three-betting from the big blind before the flop and leading out when it came 3♦ Q♦ J♠. That brought the Romanian player back to within three big blinds of the lead, and a few hands later another three-bet before the flop would actually regain that lead by about one big blind.
The two players traded pre-flop blind steals back and forth for another seven hands. The blinds crept up to 2M/4M, and jogin23 moved ever so slightly ahead. Then came the final confrontation, one of only two hands of the heads-up match to see a flop without seeing an all-in bet first:
With the straight on the river, jogin23 outran sascha_me's flopped pair of kings and won the tournament and the extra $15,000 left on the table after the deal. That made jogin23's total take for the event $65,382.90.
As for sascha_me, falling short of the win didn't keep the Romanian from being the biggest money earner in this event. Holding the chip lead when the deal was made was worth $65,712.36, a very impressive take on the $27 buy-in.
TCOOP 2013 Event #1: $27 NL Hold'em (6-max)
$750,000 guaranteed prize pool
4,800 places paid
$937,220.80 total prize pool
1st place: jogin23 (Slovakia) $65,382.90*
2nd place: sascha_me (Romania) $65,712.36*
3rd place: newkorea (Germany) $48,437.62*
4th place: suzy2009 (Slovenia) $26,803.87*
5th place: machomei (Germany) $25,703.51*
6th place: luda777k (Russia) $14,743.77*
* - denotes result of a six-way deal
TCOOP is just getting started. There's still another week and a half of fast-paced poker goodness waiting in the wings - and there's a seat waiting for you.