TCOOP 2014: K_Heaven07 ascendent in Event #3, $215 NLHE Turbo, Knockout

The first day of PokerStars' 2014 Turbo Championship of Online Poker was a well patronized one, players registering in droves for a taste of turbo-injected action. A whopping 25,590 played Event #1, a $27 NLH tournament, and another 1,831 played Courchevel Hi/Low in Event #2. Event #3, a $215 Knockout format, garnered 4,988 entrants, creating a seven-figure prizepool, which easily surpassed the $750,000 guarantee.

Five hours after it began, it was all over. Australian K_Heaven07 stood atop the pile, after personally knocking out 23 players, making a three-way deal, and clinching the $15,000 remainder, for a total haul of $115,084.05!

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: nafnaf_funny (Russia) -- 2,021,500
Seat 2: birs320 (Hungary) -- 3,062,082
Seat 3: HalfMoonLane (United Kingdom) -- 1,175,238
Seat 4: Noelliam (Sweden) -- 3,873,636
Seat 5: GarethC23 (Canada) -- 3,705,143
Seat 6: K_Heaven07 (Australia) -- 1,508,129
Seat 7: rickwaa (Australia) -- 2,194,462
Seat 8: Tygem (Finland) -- 4,066,932
Seat 9: BIG PANDAO (Brazil) -- 3,132,878

There were a few chances for both rickwaa and K_Heaven07 to be knocked out in ninth. The former recovered from the destitution of one big blind after waking up with pocket aces under the gun. The eventual champion was down to three big-blinds, before flipping well with Q♣ T♣ against the 6♣ 6♥ of birs320.

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Accomplished tournament veteran Balazs "birs320" Botond recovered the chip-lead they held at various points approaching the final table after being dealt A♦ A♥ in early position. With blinds at 150,000-300,000 they raised the minimum, to 600,000, with a stack of 3.3M. HalfMoonLane of the UK elected to flat call T♣ 9♣ next to act with just 1.9M chips to begin the hand. The two got all the chips in the pot on a K♠ 9♥ 7♦ flop, and following a 7♥ 6♠ runout, HalfMoonLane was out in ninth for $6,454.47.

BIG PANDAO had lost a coinflip with pocket sevens against the ace-nine offsuit of K_Heaven07 just a few hands before being placed all-in by the big blind. They managed to find K♠ 6♦ in the dark but were in bad shape facing the 6♣ 6♠ of, once again, K_Heaven07. On a four club board BIG PANDAO was out eighth for $10,085.11, while K_Heaven07 won the next hand, and had gone from worst to first, holding 6.6M of the 25M chips in play.

Turbo tournaments, particularly when stacks get short, are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. When it folded around to birs320 in the small blind, he moved all-in for six big-blinds, covering another well decorated player, Swede "Noelliam," who called off their four-something big-blinds with K♦ 4♦. It was 5♣ 2♣ for Birs320, who was a mere 40% underdog. The A♥ 7♦ 5♥ flop further evinced fortune's whims. Then the Q♣ turn and 5♠ river came. Noelliam was out in seventh for $18,153.20.

Six, Halved

Balazs "birs320" Botond had been the most active player as the final table approached and as it played out from nine to six. Talk of a deal began after the elimination of Noelliam, but noncommittal was the word. The fearlessness of birs320 went unrewarded after they ran A♥ 8♦ into the Q♠ Q♦ of GarethC23. Shoving a few hands later, for three big-blinds with Q♣ J♠, birs320 ran into another of GarethC23's monsters -- A♦ K♠.After the Q♠ 9♠ 6♥ flop the Hungarian who had headlined the final table looked poised to stay in the game. But the A♠ was the worst card in the deck for those chances. The 3♦ completed the board, and, at the behest of pocket queens and ace-king, GarethC23 had amassed 10M chips, good for the lead. Botond would have to settle for $26,211.29 and sixth place.

Tygem of Finland (1.5BB) and nafnaf_funny of Russia (2.5BB) were both running on fumes following Botond's dispatch. Once the big-blind loomed, Tygem could no longer wait and put their last small blind in the pot under the gun and nafnaf_funny called all-in, also for less than a big-blind, next to act. GarethC23 moved in over the top and cards were on their backs:

Tygern: T♣ 6♦
nafnaf_funny: A♥ J♣
GarethC23: A♣ 5♠

nafnaf_funny had strong hope of getting back in the game, but as favourable as the A♦ Q♦ J♠ flop was, Tygen still had a gutshot (and backdoor diamonds!). The 6♠ turn added two more outs to trip sixes, but the 2♠ sealed the Fin's fate. Tygen was out fifth for $34,289.38.

The blinds were now astronomically high, and a level jump to 400,000-800,000 (with a 10,000 ante), meant fewer than 32 big-blinds were on the table. nafnaf_funny (who had previously won a MicroMillions event) trusted their last two big-blinds to A♣ 5♠, but K_Heaven07 had awoken with 6♣ 6♠. The favourite would prevail in this instance, while the J♣ 5♥ 8♦ flop paired nafnaf_funny's undercard, the 4♣ T♦ turn-river would offer no further help to the short-stack. It was fourth for nafnaf_funny, good for $45,584.70.

Three's a crowd

Deal-making progressed in earnest at the outset of three-handed play. A lot of money was now on the line with K_Heaven07 holding the chip-lead with fewer than fifteen big blinds. After some balking by all three parties, a straight ICM-chop was agreed upon --

GarethC23: $97,227.35
K_Heaven07: $99,135.30
rickwaa: $75,767.95

There was still the matter of $15,000 to play for, and of course, the TCOOP title.

The first hand after the deal was made rickwaa moved all-in for three big-blinds with A♠ T♦, in blind versus blind with GarethC23, who called with T♣ 8♥. It was another stroke of fortune for the Canadian, as the 8♣ 5♥ 4♠ flop reversed domination. The 6♠ turn added no sweat and the 8♠ was an indelible reminder that lady luck could favour even the most insipid of Canadian characters. Having battled back from being crippled early, rickwaa was bad beat in third, earning $75,767.95.

Then there were two. Sources close to the dueling parties, speaking on condition of anonymity, report that GarethC23 was dealt A♥ K♥, 6♦ 6♥, and A♦ J♠ in the first three hands. He was reported to have "liked his chances" as he built a 17 to 8 chip lead. But K_Heaven07 remained disciplined amid changing tides, before pushing J♦ J♠ to double through GarethC23's A♠ 4♦ on a K♣ J♥ 9♣, 5♦, 3♥ board.

K_Heaven07 would never look back. On the final hand GarethC23 moved all-in from the button for 7 big blinds with 7♣ 6♣. The Canadian's cascading dumb luck had finally dried up -- the patient K_Heaven07 tabled A♠ A♣.

The K♣ 4♥ 3♥ flop gave GarethC23 an inside straight draw and backdoor clubs.

Had that dumb luck dried up after all?

Yes, yes it had. That was mentioned already. The turn was the T♦, the river the J♦, and Australian K_Heaven07, once the nine-handed final table's shortest stack, had fought all the way back to win $114,135.30 and to become TCOOP Event #3's deserving champion!

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GarethC23 was out in second for $97,227.35. In an, albeit brief, exclusive interview, the PokerStars Blog asked him for your standard-issue post-game, "both teams played hard"-type interview snippet.

"Don't get me wrong, the money is unfathomable," the runner-up said (rather pretentiously, we add parenthetically).

"But I wish I had been in Trondheim, Norway, instead of Phuket, Thailand, sharing this moment with the woman I love, Anna Duvsete. She is the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on, and I have faith that, one day, she'll give me another chance." Then he self-indulgently began to quote Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 170-174 of Romeo & Juliet, to insufferable effect, and the PokerStars Blog got off the phone before he could finish. Who did this guy think he was!

Congratulations to K_Heaven07 for ducking and punching his way through a mob 5,000 players to capture $114,135.30 and a 2014 TCOOP title!

1/24/14 TCOOP #3 ($215 No-Limit Hold'em, Turbo, Knockout) results

Players: 4,988

Total prize pool: $1,012,564.00

Regular prize pool: $806,809
Bounty prize pool: $205,755

Places paid: 630

1. K_Heaven07 (Australia) -- $114,135.30*
2. GarethC23 (Canada) -- $97,227.35*
3. rickwaa (Australia) -- $75,767.95*
4. nafnaf_funny (Russia) -- $45,584.70
5. Tygem (Finland) -- $34,289.38
6. birs320 (Hungary) -- $26,211.29
7. Noelliam (Sweden) -- $18,153.20
8. BIG PANDAO (Brazil) -- $10,085.11
9. HalfMoonLane (United Kingdom) -- $6,454.47

*= reflects a three-way deal that left $15,000 in play for the winner

TCOOP is just getting underway. There are 50 total events running through February 2nd with a wide range of buy-in levels and game formats. Check out the full 2014 TCOOP schedule here.

Gareth Chantler is a contributor to the PokerStars Blog. He plays on PokerStars as "GarethC23."

Gareth Chantler
@PokerStars in TCOOP