TCOOP 2014: TaPeeH's turnaround takes the title down in Event #37, $82 NLHE (6-max, Turbo)

It's hard to believe, but the 2014 installment of TCOOP is nearly over. Two-thirds of the 50 scheduled events have already flown by at top speed, and by the time this weekend is complete the rest of them will have been entered into the history books as well. There's no time like the present, then, to get in on the action and lay claim to a share of the last of this year's TCOOP prize pools. If you like 6-max no-limit hold'em, today's Event #37 was, in fact, your very last chance to do so.

The tournament kicked off at 10:00 a.m. ET, and when late registration closed 75 minutes later it had drawn a total of 3,894 players. That was good for a $292,050 prize pool - nearly double the guarantee - to be split among the top 510 players, with $45,269.81 set aside for the winner. By 2:04 p.m. ET the field had been narrowed down to these six players:

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Seat 1: nasukk (2,957,073 in chips)
Seat 2: pericolo11 (2,102,152 in chips)
Seat 3: TaPeeH (1,817,792 in chips)
Seat 4: ChKo (4,119,563 in chips)
Seat 5: dispesher (4,836,525 in chips)
Seat 6: blony_tair (3,636,895 in chips)

The blinds and antes were at 70K/140K/17.5K, splitting the final table into two distinct groups: those with 21 big blinds or less and those who simply needed to avoid running into each other to earn a pay jump. Switzerland's pericolo11 was in the former camp and picked up some good hands in the early going, but got calls with neither J♥ J♠ nor 7♣ 7♠ and so made up no ground. Germany's ChKo was a member of the "don't run into another big stack" crew and was fortunate to be the player who started Hand #8 with the larger chip stack:

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ChKo managed to steal the next three consecutive pots to stay afloat, but pericolo11 wasn't so lucky. On Hand #12 the Swiss player opened for a minimum raise to 320K and then called a three-bet to 480K from the big blind by Kazakhstan's dispesher. The Kazakh player led for 480K on the T♥ 3♦ 4♥ flop and called quickly after pericolo11 moved in for 1.96M total. dispesher's K♥ K♠ was ahead of A♦ T♠ and stayed there through the 9♠ turn and K♦ river, and pericolo11 left in 6th place ($5,110.87).

That left ChKo as the shortest remaining stack. After six pots went by without a showdown, the German player opened on Hand #19 with an all-in bet of 1.59M, worth just under eight big blinds on the 100K/200K/25K level. The bet was matched only by fellow German blony_tair in the small blind, whose A♥ K♠ dominated ChKo's A♠ 4♠. After a flop of K♣ 8♥ 2♠ only running fours or spades could save the underdog; the 4♥ on the turn was a start, but the 6♠ river eliminated ChKo in 5th place ($9,228.78).

Just two hands later nasukk and dispesher, the owners of the two largest remaining stacks, got into a pre-flop raising war that saw dispesher all-in for 6.17M with 3♦ 3♥. That was flipping against nasukk's A♦ Q♦ only until the flop came 2♣ 2♠ Q♥. The 4♥ turn and 8♥ were no help, the queens won the 12.5M-chip pot, and dispesher was knocked out in 4th place ($15,478.65).

New terrain for nasukk

That pot left nasukk with nearly 70 big blinds, a big reversal after starting in the bottom half of the final table and far more than the 22 held by blony_tair and the five in TaPeeH's stack. The Romanian player was ready to make quick work of the shorter of those two stacks on Hand #24, raising on the button with 6♠ 5♥ and then calling an all-in bet worth another two big blinds. But TaPeeH's A♦ J♥ held up on the 5♦ T♦ 2♥ A♣ 8♦ board for a double to 1.89M. On the next hand nasukk took another swing and missed again, this time losing out with K♦ T♥ to lose to TaPeeH's K♥ J♦, giving the player from Malta another double to 3.9M.

The next 14 hands went by without a showdown - and also without the chip stacks changing significantly. On Hand #40 the two short stacks would end up facing off before the flop after TaPeeH moved in for 3.28M with T♣ T♥ and blony_tair called with A♦ K♣. The board came T♠ 4♠ 2♣ 5♥ 8♠, the set of tens was good for the 6.9M-chip pot, and blony_tair was left with just 545K on 125K/250K/31.25K level. On the next hand the two met again with the same result - TaPeeH's 2♦ 2♥ held up against blony_tair's K♠ 2♠ to send the German player to the rail in 3rd place ($24,240.15), marking the second-largest score of a career that already included past final tables in the MicroMillions, Sunday Million, SCOOP, and TCOOP.

Heads-up for the title

Things can turn on a dime in TCOOP, and the heads-up match in this tournament was proof. Just four minutes earlier TaPeeH had been down to three big blinds and in danger of busting. Now the player from Malta was facing down a past Sunday Million final tablist for a TCOOP championship.

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Seat 1: nasukk (11,861,947 in chips)
Seat 3: TaPeeH (7,608,053 in chips)

The two players traded blinds back and forth for seven hands. On Hand #61 TaPeeH finally broke the pattern after min-raising for 600K on the button and calling all-in for 5.92M total with J♣ J♦. nasukk's three-bet out of position had been made with A♣ 7♠, which had just four outs to hit after the Q♠ J♠ K♣ flop and fell short once the turn and river came 3♦ 2♠. That put TaPeeH in the driver's seat with 11.9M chips to nasukk's 7.55M, a margin that would expand two hands later with an uncalled bet on the river:

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From there until the end of the tournament nine hands later, nasukk would not win another pot worth more than the blinds and antes. The final blow came on Hand #72 of the final table when nasukk jammed on the button for 4.54M with 4♠ 3♠ and TaPeeH called with Q♥ T♥. The flop came Q♠ Q♣ 9♦ to leave nasukk drawing to a back-door spade flush and nothing else, but the turn and river fell 3♦ 5♦ to bring the tournament to a close.

nasukk wasn't able to pull off the win at this 21-minute-long final table but did earn $33,001.65 as the runner-up, the second-best payday to date in the Romanian player's career. TaPeeH, meanwhile, won $45,269.81 - nearly nine times the player from Malta's previous career-best of $5,300, won earlier this month in a $1 re-buy tourney. Not a bad way to end an already successful January!

TCOOP-37: $82 No-Limit Hold'em (6-max, Turbo)
Entrants: 3,894
Prize pool: $292,050
Places paid: 510

1. TaPeeH (Malta) $45,269.81
2. nasukk (Romania) $33,001.65
3. blony_tair (Germany) $24,240.15
4. dispesher (Kazakhstan) $15,478.65
5. ChKo (Germany) $9,228.78
6. pericolo11 (Switzerland) $5,110.87

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP