TCOOP 2014: solaris681 sweeps final table in Event #18, $27 PLO (6-max, 2x-Turbo)

It's not too uncommon to see a player come to the final table with the chip lead and move on to win the tournament, particularly in six-handed games where there are fewer opponents to overcome. What is uncommon, though, is to see the chip leader reduced to the short stack before anyone is eliminated - and then come storming back to win the tournament. As it turned out, that's precisely what happened today in Event #18 of this year's TCOOP.

Of all the tournaments on the TCOOP schedule to provide such an ending, this one would probably have to be considered a front-runner. A $27 6-max Pot-Limit Omaha event with unlimited rebuys for the first 12 levels of play, it promised plenty of action from the very beginning and did not disappoint. The 3,325 players who showed up combined for 8,509 re-buys and 1,990 add-ons, building a total prize pool worth $339,379.20. That set up a scheduled top prize of $53,454.24.

Just under five hours into the tournament, two players ended up all-in at the same time on different tables during hand-for-hand play on the 250K/500K level. Israel's TheUnsullied was at risk with Q♥ Q♦ 3♦ 3♣ against the A♥ 9♥ 7♣ 4♥ of Bulgaria's solaris681, but a friendly T♦ Q♠ 7♠ 8♥ 5♣ board gave TheUnsullied the chip lead with more than 16.8 million. On Table 320, the United Kingdom's short-stacked Cardiffbiker wasn't so fortunate. Canadian player groupiefish's 8♠ 8♦ 7♣ 3♥ won out over Cardiffbiker's A♠ K♠ Q♣ J♠ on a T♣ 6♠ A♥ 7♦ 9♠ board, setting up this final table lineup:

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Seat 1: é_memiu (6,033,268 in chips)
Seat 2: groupiefish8 (5,372,754 in chips)
Seat 3: pokerkluka (4,762,583 in chips)
Seat 4: solaris681 (16,877,287 in chips)
Seat 5: rizing river (2,654,292 in chips)
Seat 6: TheUnsullied (7,867,816 in chips)

solaris681, who had lost the chip lead on the final table bubble, dropped a few more chips to 7.85M. Having opened the betting for 1M with T♦ 8♥ 6♦ 4♥, the Bulgarian was priced into a call after Canada's rizing river moved in for 1.9M with K♣ K♥ J♥ T♣. The 5♠ 3♣ 9♦ board threatened a straight, but the A♥ K♦ turn and river didn't deliver and rizing river's stack bobbed up to 4.55M.

The ensuing 11 pots never went any further than the flop. It took until Hand #15 of the final table, with the blinds up to 400K/800K, before another hand played out further. And when it did, solaris681 was on the wrong side of the equation once again. The Bulgarian player opened in the cutoff for a minimum raise to 1.6M and was called in the big blind by Brazil's é_memiu, who had another 2.78M left behind. Holding T♥ T♦ 8♥ 6♠ on a 5♥ 3♠ K♣ flop, solaris681 bet enough to put é_memiu all-in - and the Brazilian gladly called with K♠ 9♥ 8♣ 5♠ for top two pair. The 4♥ turn and A♦ river shipped é_memiu the 9.16M-chip pot and left solaris681 on the bubble with just 3.57M chips.

Elimination now loomed and, left with no other options, solaris681 got aggressive. A stop-and-go move in the big blind on Hand #18 and pre-flop, all-in three-bet on Hand #19 were good enough to get the Bulgarian back above 7.97M. On Hand #21 solaris681 finally had to show down a hand. After opening for 2.8M in the cutoff with Q♠ Q♣ 6♦ 3♣, the Bulgarian player called another 758K to match rizing river's all-in bet. rizing river's K♠ T♣ 9♦ 8♠ was left with just four clean outs when the 5♠ A♥ Q♦ flop gave solaris681 a set. The 4♣ and 9♠ were no help, giving solaris681 the pot and sending rizing river to the rail in 6th place ($6,023.98).

solaris681 kept the pedal to the metal and won the next pot before the flop with a pot-sized raise, chipping up to 13.93M. Two hands later that stack made for an easy raise in the big blind when pokerkluka of the Netherlands limped in for 1M from the small blind with 562K left behind. solaris681's A♠ J♥ 9♠ 4♠ caught top pair on the flop and never looked back on the 8♣ 3♠ A♣ 6♥ T♦ flop, eliminating pokerkluka in 5th place ($11,817.18).

Those two knockouts had boosted the remaining players' guaranteed prize by more than $12,000 but hadn't been worth many chips to solaris681. The very next hand, though, moved the Bulgarian player firmly into the chip lead - with the side effect of another pay jump:

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groupiefish8 got all-in as nearly a 7-to-1 favorite, but the J♦ on the river made solaris681 a straight and sent the Canadian player out in 4th place ($18,496.16).

Three down, two to go

The blinds were at 500K/1M and the chips were now distributed among the last three players like so:

Seat 1: é_memiu (4,566,536 in chips)
Seat 4: solaris681 (24,015,832 in chips)
Seat 6: TheUnsullied (14,985,632 in chips)

Within two hands solaris681 took a shot at knocking out the short stack, calling with A♥ J♦ T♥ 7♣ after é_memiu raised to 3.5M before the flop. That left é_memiu with 566K, which went in the middle on the 5♥ J♠ 3♣ flop; the Brazilian's 6♠ 5♦ 4♣ 3♥ had out-flopped solaris681, and a straight on the 5♥ J♠ 3♣ T♠ 7♥ board was good for the 9.13M-chip pot. Then TheUnsullied won the next hand, bringing the chip stacks at the table into a more balanced state:

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Two hands later TheUnsullied's gains were diminshed by doubling é_memiu when both players hit a pair of nines but the latter's ace kicker played. That 15.76M-chip pot brought all three players to within four big blinds of one another. That was impetus enough for everyone to talk about a deal based on ICM numbers, which was worked out shortly to leave an extra $6,000 on the table for the winner.

On the fourth hand back after making the deal, TheUnsullied picked up A♦ A♥ K♠ Q♣ and opened for 3.5M on the button. solaris681 called with K♣ 5♣ 4♣ 2♣ and put the pressure on with a bet on the 5♦ 8♣ 9♠ flop. TheUnsullied made the call and was ahead with a pair of aces, but the 5♥ on the turn gave solaris681 trip fives. The Q♥ on the river wasn't one of the two outs TheUnsullied was looking for, knocking out the Israeli player in 3rd place ($37,601.55).

Just 14 minutes earlier, solaris681 had been the shortest stack at the table. Now the Bulgarian player had eliminated all four of the departed and had the lead as heads-up play began with 750K/1.5M blinds:

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Seat 1: é_memiu (16,516,144 in chips)
Seat 4: solaris681 (27,051,856 in chips)

The match would last just nine hands, and only the last one contested a pot worth more than three big blinds. It saw solaris681 call a raise to 4.5M and take a flop of 4♦ 2♣ 7♠ before leading out for 7.5M. That was enough to put é_memiu all-in, and the Brazilian called with Q♥ J♦ T♦ 2♥ for bottom pair with a couple of backdoor draws. solaris681 had A♥ 9♦ 7♣ 6♥ for top pair, ace kicker, which held up through the 4♥ turn and 8♥ river to bring the tournament to a close.

é_memiu's draw never came in, but $39,116.71 from the three-way deal is still a nice payday by any standard. The extra $6,000 for the winner made solaris681's total reward for sweeping the final table $44,272.43 - a new career high by more than $30K for the Bulgarian player, making this a weekend to remember.

TCOOP-18: $27+R Pot-Limit Omaha (6-max, 2x-Turbo)
Entrants: 3,325 (8,509 re-buys, 1,990 add-ons)
Prize pool: $339,379.20
Places paid: 420

1. solaris681 (Bulgaria) $44,272.43*
2. é_memiu (Brazil) $39,116.71*
3. TheUnsullied (Israel) $37,601.55*
4. groupiefish8 (Canada) $18,496.16
5. pokerkluka (Netherlands) $11,817.18
6. rizing river (Canada) $6,023.98
* - denotes results of a three-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP