TCOOP 2014: sting_AC's final table comeback good for the win in Event #1, $27 NLHE

With millions of dollars in guarantees and minimal time requirements thanks to the turbo structures in all of its events, TCOOP is going to give tournament grinders a lot of reasons to play over the next week and a half. Event #1 was a perfect example of what makes this series so great: a 6-max turbo NL Hold'em event with a $750,000 prize pool, one whose winner was crowned in just five hours and 36 minutes.

That was attractive enough to draw a crowd of 25,590 players, only six of whom were left when the final table began play at 5:03 p.m. ET:

TCOOP-01 2014 ft.jpg

Seat 1: Raymen82 (33,206,160 in chips)
Seat 2: Shavgula (5,505,223 in chips)
Seat 3: sting_AC (18,788,736 in chips)
Seat 4: venced0r (47,710,494 in chips)
Seat 5: carmenqueasy (15,574,188 in chips)
Seat 6: URMYLeNoR (7,165,199 in chips)

Chip leader venced0r of Germany held a little over 37 big blinds as the final table began on the 700K/1.4M/175K, but nobody else was in anything resembling a comfortable position. Shavgula of Georgia was the worst off with just under four big blinds, but Belgium's carmenqueasy and Canada's sting_AC were in immediate danger, too. That had almost everyone at the table willing to make a deal, but Raymen82 from the Netherlands wasn't having any of it right away.

"shav and urmy out and then I will discuss," typed Raymen82, so play moved forward Then Raymen82 quickly took care of half of those requirements. Sitting in the big blind with K♦ 7♠ on Hand #5, the Dutch player called for another 2.53M to face off with Shavgula's A♦ J♠. A small underdog before the flop turned into a big favorite after the first three cards came down K♥ 7♦ 2♦, leaving Shavgula in need of one of a few possible runner-runner combinations. But the turn and river came 9♠ 6♣, making Shavgula the final table first casualty in 6th place ($7,500).

URMYLeNoR proved more difficult to knock out. The German player doubled up to 14.98M in the small blind on Hand #9 with A♥ 7♥ against venced0r's Q♥ 8♥ after the latter tried to steal the blinds from the button. Two hands later Raymen82 took a coin flip with A♥ J♠ for a chance to knock out carmenqueasy, but the Belgian player's 7♦ 7♠ caught a set on the flop of the 7♣ 5♦ 3♣ 2♠ J♣ board and needed no more help. That moved carmenqueasy up to 26.99M chips and flattened out the counts enough to convince everyone to talk about a deal:

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Seat 1: Raymen82 (36,237,195 in chips)
Seat 3: sting_AC (9,963,736 in chips)
Seat 4: venced0r (41,370,295 in chips)
Seat 5: carmenqueasy (26,798,376 in chips)
Seat 6: URMYLeNoR (13,580,398 in chips)

Deal time

After looking at the chip-chop numbers - and giving the hard-bargaining URMYLeNoR an extra $1,000 above them - all five players agreed and got back to the action. With the deal on the books and an extra $15,000 to play for, sting_AC had nothing to lose and made a three-bet all-in for 9.76M with after Raymen82 opened for 3.47M. Raymen82 made the call with A♠ J♥ and had sting_AC's ace dominated, but the board ran out K♥ 3♣ 3♥ T♥ K♣ and the pot was split. Five hands later it the same two players would square off, this time with sting_AC holding the dominating hand, K♥ T♦ against Q♠ T♥. There were no bumps on the 4♦ 8♠ 7♥ 4♣ 3♠ and sting_AC was back in decent position once again with a 26.32M-chip stack.

After that nobody was willing to be the first one to make a mistake. Nearly all of the pots were won before the flop, and none went to showdown until Hand #31. That one saw carmenqueasy lead with an all-in bet of 16.89 from the cutoff, a bet that went uncalled until the action reached sting_AC in the big blind. The Canadian called with A♣ K♥ and 14.32M chips behind, and was up against carmenqueasy's A♥ J♦. Nearly a three-to-one dog before the flop, carmenqueasy jumped into the lead when the board started off 3♦ 7♠ J♥. The turn was the safe 4♠, but the K♦ on the river knocked the Belgian player out in 5th place ($40,284).

URMYLeNoR looked likely to be the next player out, holding just under five big blinds, but the deck had other plans. Just three hands after the first post-deal knockout came the next confrontation. sting_AC opened with a minimum raise to 4M under the gun and then called after Raymen82 moved all-in for 20.22M in the big blind. Raymen82 had a small lead with 6♠ 6♣ against K♥ Q♣ but that evaporated on the 4♥ 9♦ Q♠ flop. The Q♥ turn didn't actually change much, as Raymen82 still had two outs to win the 42.44M-chip pot, but the 4♣ on the river was the end of the line for Raymen82 in 4th place ($51,862.85).

Three players for $15K

sting_AC's stack was now worth 36 big blinds to venced0r's 22 and URMYLeNoR's five. Both the leader and the short stack had a lot of incentive to play for the extra $15K on the table, given that they had the two smallest shares of the five-way deal, while venced0r was already guaranteed the largest share at more than $57K. URMYLeNoR was able to turn desperation moves into double-ups on both Hand #40 and Hand #42, one against each opponent, to chip up to 29.17M.

Then the table became a Mexican standoff - or if not that, then whatever you call it when two Germans and a Canadian play three-bet chicken for 14 hands. At the end of that run URMYLeNoR once again doubled up twice more in three hands, to 21.78M with a slight dog against venced0r and then to 38.24M with a slight favorite against sting_AC. The wild ride finally came to an end on Hand #64 after URMYLeNoR opened for a minimum raise to 5M on the button and called after sting_AC moved all-in for 59.33M. That had URMYLeNoR covered, so the German's tournament was on the line by calling with A♦ 9♣ - a bad development considering sting_AC had been dealt K♥ K♠. The board came 7♠ 6♥ J♠ 6♣ K♦, no help at all to the dog, and URMYLeNoR was gone in 3rd place ($27,470.24).

Heads-up play started with 1.5M/3M blinds and 375K antes, with the chips split like so:

TCOOP-01 2014 ft hu.jpg

Seat 3: sting_AC (96,962,093 in chips)
Seat 4: venced0r (30,987,907 in chips)

The duel would last just eight hands, most of that span bereft of action as the two folded either on the button or to an all-in raise from it. On the eighth hand venced0r repeated the pattern with an all-in move worth 32.48M, but sting_AC shook things up by calling with Q♦ 2♥. That turned out to be ahead, as venced0r held 8♦ 6♦ - and it stayed there as the board ran out 7♣ Q♣ 3♦ K♥ T♥ to bring the tournament to a close.

venced0r may not have been able to make up any ground in the heads-up match, but the German player still walked with the tournament's biggest payday, a $57,615.77 share from the five-way deal. As for sting_AC, the Canadian player took the extra $15K for winning this TCOOP's opening event, good for a total prize of $37,416.85 - and, of course, an early lead on the TCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard.

TCOOP-01: $27 NL Hold'em (6-max)
Entrants: 25,590
Prize pool: $750,000
Places paid: 3,600

1. sting_AC (Canada) $37,416.85*
2. venced0r (Germany) $57,615.77*
3. URMYLeNoR (Germany) $27,470.24*
4. Raymen82 (Netherlands) $51,862.85*
5. carmenqueasy (Belgium) $40,284*
6. Shavgula (Georgia) $7,500
* - denotes result of a five-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP