TCOOP 2014: lyonsden6 devours the competition in Event #25, $215 NLHE (8-max, Turbo)

It's pretty common to see familiar names atop all of the PokerStars COOP events, and TCOOP is no exception. Already we've seen victories from four talented players whom we already knew from their accomplishments both live and online. But every now and then we get to see the other side of the COOP coin, where a tournament is responsible for turbocharging the bankroll of a hard-working but lesser-known player who's not previously come anywhere near such a score.

Event #25 of this year's TCOOP was just such an event for a Canadian player named lyonsden6, a regular in smaller tournaments whose only previous COOP cash was a 534th-place in a large-field SCOOP Low event last spring. This tournament, a $215 8-max No-Limit Hold'em event with a standard turbo structure, drew a field of 3,457 players. That made for a total prize pool of $691,400, to be split among the top 440 players. lyonsden6 entered as a virtual unknown but by the time the eight-handed final table rolled around on the 80K/160K/20K level, the Canadian player had a solid chip lead:

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Seat 1: pipoka66 (2,094,000 in chips)
Seat 2: TheDegenFund (1,604,648 in chips)
Seat 3: j.o. 2100 (1,504,251 in chips)
Seat 4: CalBears123 (590,396 in chips)
Seat 5: kennethcool9 (2,091,673 in chips)
Seat 6: radazatl (2,522,279 in chips)
Seat 7: lyonsden6 (4,337,847 in chips)
Seat 8: White Sword (2,539,906 in chips)

Aside from the leader nobody was in particularly good shape, so the action was tentative. lyonsden6 took advantage and stole the blinds and antes four times in the first orbit. It wasn't until Hand #8 that anything larger developed, and even then it was still a small pot. CalBears123 moved in for 180K in middle position with K♥ 5♦ and was in bad shape after lyonsden6 raised to 450K with K♦ T♣ and got no more callers. The board helped out, though, coming 2♥ 7♠ 6♥ A♣ 5♣ to boost CalBears123 to 841K with a pair of fives.

Five more hands would go by, and the blinds and antes would rise to 100K/200K/25K, before the next significant pot played out. lyonsden6 took down the 2.05M chips in that one after raising the minimum under the gun, check-calling a smallish bet from j.o. 2100 on the A♠ 8♥ 2♣ flop, checking the 3♦ turn, and shoving the 9♥ river. After stealing the blinds and antes again, lyonsden6 called another all-in bet with the best of it on Hand #15. This time around it was with A♥ K♠ against TheDegenFund's A♠ 5♠, but the two split the 1.91M-chip pot with wheel straights on the 5♦ 4♠ T♣ 3♥ 2♠ board.

Two hands later CalBears123 was again looking to stack up and opened the betting all-in for 791K in early position, holding K♠ 7♠. The action folded around to the button, where Germany's White Sword stuck in a small raise to 1.33M. Neither of the players in the blinds came along and the German player showed T♦ T♠ in the hole. CalBears123 immediately caught a break on the Q♦ J♣ K♦ flop, but White Sword still had plenty of outs. The Q♥ was a blank on the turn but the river brought the 9♥, giving White Sword a king-high straight and ending CalBears123's day in 8th place ($6,395.45).

Full speed ahead

lyonsden6 held a clear lead now. Not only was 7.99M chips more than double the stack held by White Sword, the only other player with more than 1.63M chips, but the 125K/250K/31.25K blinds and antes would soon force all of the short stacks to make a play for their tournament lives. The Canadian player forced the issue on and stole the blind and antes on both of the next two hands, moving up to 9.23M. Then White Sword stepped up to claim the next three pots in a row, two with uncalled pre-flop raises and the third in a blind-versus-blind situation with a three-bet over lyonsden6's small raise. Now the blinds and antes were up to 150K/300K/37.5K and these two were the only players at the table with more than 1M chips, setting the stage for a few quick knockouts - the only question was who would hit the rail and who would hang around.

Facing pressure from the escalating forced bets, three of the short stacks collided on Hand #23. TheDegenFund, sitting under the gun, had less than the big blind and started the action by calling all-in for 288K. Singapore's kennethcool9 then moved in for 950K in middle position, and pipoka66, sitting in the big blind, called all-in for another 287K to set up a potential double knockout. pipoka66 held A♦ 7♥ to dominate TheDegenFund's J♦ 7♠, but both players were behind with the tournament on the line against kennethcool9's Q♣ Q♠. Each picked up a straight draw on the 4♠ 6♣ 3♥ flop but fell short after the turn and river came 6♥ 9♦. kennethcool9 won the 2.21M-chip pot, TheDegenFund finished in 7th place ($13,129.68), and pipoka66 left in 6th place ($20,742).

Two hands later lyonsden6 tried for a third time to take out one of the short stacks. The Canadian player, holding Q♠ T♠, opened with a minimum raise to 1M. Belgium's j.o. 2100 thought for a while but folded, and kennethcool9 did the same, but the Czech Republic's radazatl, already in for 500K from the big blind, had little to lose and called all-in for another 243K with 9♦ 3♥. That wasn't terribly far behind, but it was drawing dead after the Q♥ T♦ T♣ flop. The 9♣ and 5♥ were mere formalities and radazatl was gone in 5th place ($34,570).

Refreshed by that knockout, lyonsden6 took another swing on the next hand. This time j.o. 2100 opened the betting by calling all-in for 288K. kennethcool9 folded and lyonsden6, holding A♣ 3♣, raised all-in to isolate. White Sword declined to call in the big blind and lyonsden6 showed down against T♥ 8♣. Both paired on the A♠ T♦ J♥ flop but j.o. 2100 still needed more help. Unfortunately none came on the 2♦ turn or 7♠ river, and the Belgian player was out in 4th place ($48,398).

The next hand, Hand #27, saw lyonsden6 keep the streak going in one of the few hands of the final table to reach a flop without an all-in:

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Two and done

With that lyonsden6 moved up to 12.81M chips, enough to withstand losses to either of the other players should they manage to double through the Canadian player - the perfect situation since the 250K/500K/62.5K blinds and antes would soon force both players' hands.

kennethcool9 was in position to double up on Hand #28 after moving in for 1.02M in the small blind with A♦ 9♣ when lyonsden6 called with K♠ 2♦, but again the board was friendly to the big stack. It fell K♥ 4♥ K♦ 4♠ 2♥ to give the Canadian a full house and send kennethcool9 to the rail in 3rd place ($62,226).

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That left just White Sword, with a 3.31M-chip stack to lyonsden6's 13.96M, to stop the Canadian from claiming the title. The German didn't lack initiative, three-betting all-in over the top of lyonsden6's opening minimum raise on Hand #29 and raising to steal the blinds on Hand #30. On the next hand, though, sitting out of position, White Sword only called lyonsden6's raise to 1M. The two saw a flop of 4♣ 6♣ 7♠ and lyonsden6 bet 888K after White Sword checked. The German made it a check-raise to 2M and quickly called after lyonsden6 moved all-in, showing down K♣ 6♠ for middle pair. But the timing was poor, as lyonsden6 held A♠ A♦. The 4♦ on the turn left two outs in the deck for White Sword, but the K♥ on the river wasn't one of them and the German player was eliminated in 2nd place ($82,968).

It took lyonsden6 just 31 hands to move from chip lead to championship, eliminating four of the seven opponents along the way to lay claim not only to a first major tournament title, but also a bankroll-changing prize. The Canadian player's previous best was a $2,331 score last January, more than $115K less than the TCOOP Event #25 championship was worth. The win couldn't have come at a much better time. With half this year's schedule still to be played, there are plenty of chances to put some of today's winnings in play before TCOOP comes to an end. Whether or not we see lyonsden6 at another final table before next week, though, this will surely be a day to remember for the Canadian.

TCOOP-25: $215 No-Limit Hold'em (8-max, Turbo)
Entrants: 3,457
Prize pool: $691,400
Places paid: 440

1. lyonsden6 (Canada) $117,539.35
2. White Sword (Germany) $82,968
3. kennethcool9 (Singapore) $62,226
4. j.o. 2100 (Belgium) $48,398
5. radazatl (Czech Republic) $34,570
6. pipoka66 (Portugal) $20,742
7. TheDegenFund (Mexico) $13,129.68
8. CalBears123 (Mexico) $6,395.45

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP