TCOOP 2014: madi123's final table gamble pays off in Event #32, $7.50+R NLHE (3x-Turbo)

Deals aren't at all uncommon in COOP events, but in this reporter's experience they tend to be made more often in turbo tournaments. Logic (if not science) says, then, that deals should be more common in TCOOP than in the other PokerStars championship series. The turbo structures mean that most final tables will have all the players constantly one coin flip from elimination. But that doesn't mean that every short-stacked player is willing to deal by default. Sometimes one is willing to spice up the proceedings with a little bit of gamble, as happened today in Event #32.

Play in this $7.50+R No-Limit Hold'em event began at noon ET with unlimited re-buys available for the next hour and a half. Even those who entered at the end of late registration were still eligible to re-buy for another 30 minutes, and re-buy they did: 51,189 times in all. Along with 7,756 add-ons at the end of the re-buy period that made for a total prize pool of $512,072.88, with 2,025 places paid and $64,019.21 set aside for the winner.

By 4:17 p.m. the blinds and antes were up to 2.5M/5M/625K and these nine players took their seats at the final table:

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Seat 1: madi123 (38,162,359 in chips)
Seat 2: King Suckout (55,361,124 in chips)
Seat 3: Kakkeloekes (33,189,360 in chips)
Seat 4: babecallme (80,686,822 in chips)
Seat 5: j_peso4 (41,990,030 in chips)
Seat 6: tamiam122 (23,252,724 in chips)
Seat 7: duarteriezas (51,559,577 in chips)
Seat 8: Tiagokostabr (82,915,340 in chips)
Seat 9: LeoDerek (27,546,664 in chips)

There was immediate talk of a deal and everyone at the table agreed, except Sweden's madi123, who wasn't interested in splitting the pot nine ways. "I'm in last place," the Swede wrote, "deal when I'm out." And so play continued.

The first eight pots were won by uncalled all-in moves before the flop. The first flop came on Hand #9, a 2♦ A♦ 2♠ affair on which Brazil's Tiagokostabr won 58.9M chips with a check-raise of babecallme. And the first all-in with a call came on Hand #10 courtesy of Canada's j_peso4 and Portugal's duarteriezas. The former had the latter covered, but duarteriezas' K♥ K♣ held up against A♠ 7♣ on the 6♠ 6♦ 3♦ T♣ 8♦ board to win the 86.8M-chip pot. On the next hand, though, it was the Portuguese player who lost with a bare ace against a pocket pair when A♣ T♦ couldn't crack LeoDerek's Q♠ Q♦.

The stalemate finally broke on Hand #13, which proved to be an unlucky one for Dutch player Kakkeloekes, who had just 7.43M chips left behind after paying the 8M big blind and called them off with K♠ T♠ after madi123 raised on the button. The Swede held A♦ 7♥, which won unimproved on a 2♥ 5♠ 5♥ 5♦ Q♣ board to knock Kakkeloekes out in 9th place ($3,072.43).

j_peso4, who held less than a full ante's worth of chips, was forced all-in from the big blind with 6♦ 5♦ on the next hand. Tim "tamiam122" Cramer, playing from Mexico, was the only opposition after raising all-in under the gun with A♣ Q♣ and getting no callers. Cramer won the 15.8M chips in the middle after the board came J♦ 8♣ A♥ 4♥ 9♦, and j_peso4 left in 8th place ($4,608.65).

More chop talk, still no chop

Deal talk started up again with the table now seven-handed, the blind and antes at 4M/8M/1M, and the chips distributed like so:

Seat 1: madi123 (54,101,719 in chips)
Seat 2: King Suckout (63,986,124 in chips)
Seat 4: babecallme (32,336,822 in chips)
Seat 6: tamiam122 (65,183,177 in chips)
Seat 7: duarteriezas (66,197,490 in chips)
Seat 8: Tiagokostabr (109,265,340 in chips)
Seat 9: LeoDerek (43,593,328 in chips)

Everyone else still agreed on wanting to chop, but madi123 still wasn't game. Eventually the Swede agreed to look at the numbers without making any promises. But after looking at the ICM and chip-chop prizes, nobody could come to a consensus - and with a "let's play" the cards were being dealt once again. The next five hands went by with an all-in raise on each but no call. Finally, on Hand #20, came three players collided - but amazingly nobody was knocked out:

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Despite the name, King Suckout was unable to pull off a miracle and was left with 11.8M - just over one big blind at this point. The player from Mexico held tight for five more hands but was forced in with 7♠ 3♠ on Hand #26. That hit the river of the 8♥ 5♣ 9♦ 4♠ 3♦ board to beat babecallme's A♦ J♦ and win the 25.96M chips in the pot. Now tamiam122 was the short stack, but he was unable to pull of the same kind of magic. Cramer got in from the big blind with K♥ 9♦ against babecallme's 8♠ 6♠ in the small blind, but the board came 5♠ 2♠ 8♦ K♠ A♣. babecallme's spade flush won the 77.1M-chip pot and tamiam122 was out in 7th place ($8,961.27).

Within a few hands the blinds and antes were once again up, this time to 6M/12M/1.5M, putting 27 million chips in the middle before each hand was dealt. King Suckout, still nursing the short stack, managed to double up once again, this time in the blinds with K♥ 3♣ against madi123's 9♠ 6♥. But the Swede won the next hand to make up for that small loss:

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That boosted madi123's stack to 143.5M chips, good for the chip lead, and sent duarteriezas out of the tournament in 6th place ($13,825.96).

The last of the extreme short stacks, King Suckout, held out for a few more hands before ending up all-in before picking up J♥ 6♥ in the big blind on Hand #37. With 12M already paid and just 9.4M chip left behind, King Suckout called after madi123 raised with T♣ 3♦ from the small blind. The board fell 7♣ 3♠ Q♠ A♦ A♥, the underdog hand won out, and King Suckout was gone in 5th place ($18,946.69).

A brisk pace

With no time to slow down, Panama's LeoDerek was the next to move in two hands later with 6♦ 6♠. That caught a set on he flop to outrun babecallme's A♠ 3♦ and win the 99M chips in the pot. But babecallme made up for the loss two hands after that. Already in for 14 million chips in the big blind, the Finnish player called for 3.76M more with 9♥ 8♦ after Tiagokostabr moved in under the gun with K♦ 9♦. The 3♣ 3♠ 6♥ flop was no help at all, but the runner-runner combination of a 7♣ turn and a 5♦ river made a straight to knock out Tiagokostabr in 4th place ($24,067.42).

babecallme held the lead with 215.3M chips to madi123's 130.7M and LeoDerek's 88.55M and had no compunctions about putting that lead to use. The Finn won four of the next five pots without a showdown to extend that lead and put even more pressure on the other two players. On Hand #47 LeoDerek finally called all-in for 34.3M from the big blind with Q♠ 5♠ after babecallme jammed in the small blind with K♣ 9♥. Both players paired the 5♥ 6♦ 9♠ flop, but babecallme's nines were best so LeoDerek needed another five, a queen, or running flush cards to win the pot. Running cards to a straight would have been good for a split pot, too, but the turn and river came the 4♠ and LeoDerek was out in 3rd place ($34,308.88).

A quick duel

babecallme's lead as heads-up play began was 331.9M chips to madi123's 102.7M. Combined with the 7M/14M/1.75M blinds and antes, that guaranteed plenty of action - and both players were eager to get it going, knowing full well that the cards would make the winner. Their match lasted a total of 43 hands - nearly as long as the rest of the final table, but played out in a span of just under five minutes.

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First madi123 doubled up and subsequently took the lead. Then babecallme did the same. And then madi123 repeated. Finally, on the 90th hand of the final table, madi123 moved in on the button with Q♥ 4♦ and babecallme called in the big blind with K♥ T♦. The board came 2♥ 9♣ 7♠ 4♥ 3♠, babecallme finished in 2nd place ($44,703.96), and the tournament drew to a close.

Despite being last in chips at the time, madi123 made clear in the chat box at the beginning of the final table that a 9th-place finish, worth $3,072, was perfectly acceptable result. That kept everyone else from making a deal, but it also gave the Swede something to play for - the $64,019.21 that awaited for being the last player standing. That extra $61K might not have been necessary for madi123 to consider the tournament a success, but it certainly makes for a nice reward at the end of a fast-paced tournament.

TCOOP-32: $7.50+R No-Limit Hold'em (3x-Turbo)
Entrants: 16,139 (51,189 re-buys, 7,756 add-ons)
Prize pool: $512,072.88
Places paid: 2,025

1. madi123 (Sweden) $64,019.21
2. babecallme (Finland) $44,703.96
3. LeoDerek (Panama) $34,308.88
4. Tiagokostabr (Brazil) $24,067.42
5. King Suckout (Mexico) $18,946.69
6. duarteriezas (Portugal) $13,825.96
7. Tim "tamiam122" Cramer (Mexico) $8,961.27
8. j_peso4 (Canada) $4,608.65
9. Kakkeloekes (Netherlands) $3,072.43

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP