TCOOP 2016: Say hello to Helio "hneves182" Neves, Event #1 champ for $110K ($27 NLH 6-Max)

The green flag fell on this year's Turbo Championship of Online Poker today, and just a few hours later the checkered flag was being waved to signal the end of the first of 50 fast-paced events on the TCOOP schedule. Event #1, a $27 buy-in, three-phase, six-handed no-limit hold'em tournament, played out in lightning-fast fashion Thursday afternoon, and by the finish it was Brazil's Helio "hneves182" Neves alone in the winner's circle, having claimed a $110,000 first prize.


Helio "hneves182" Neves

Hailing from Salvador in Bahia, Brazil, Neves is a familar face on the Latin American Poker Tour, having just final-tabled the LAPT8 Peru Main Event in Lima last July where he finished sixth. Here's the story of how Neves managed to outlast tens of thousands -- including knocking out all five of his final table opponents -- on his way to claiming the first title of this year's TCOOP series.

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For this kickoff event, PokerStars added a hefty $1.5 million guarantee to the prize pool, and the whopping 53,311 total entries actually came just a few thousand shy of reaching that amount on their own. Players played their way through two preliminary phases during the days and hours leading up to today's event, with 9,241 of them making it through to today's cinematically titled "Phase 3: The Final Phase."

Most who made it to the final phase would cash, as the $1.5 million prize pool was due to be split between the top 7,044 finishers. Ukraine's Krek2012Karp started the day with the chip lead as the only player to accumulate more than 200,000 chips during Phases 1 and 2.

It only took a half-hour for the money bubble to burst, and less than an hour more for Krek2012Karp to tumble down the counts to finish in 1,762nd for a $165 cash. Shortly after that they were already down to 1,000 players, with Dmaster681 -- winner of a Super Tuesday just last September -- out in front and nearing the 1 million-chip mark.

The field continued to evaporate quickly as many players rushed past Dmaster681 who eventually fell in 141st ($585.00). By the day's three-hour mark there were just 98 players left, with stsnitro the new leader at more than 7.3 million. A little less than an hour after that they were down to 12, gathered around the final two tables, with doungara sitting in first with more than 52 million.

skillstar1 (12th), Paladin_MMM (11th), and skill@work (10th) were the next players out, each earning $5,565 for their finishes. Then Moneystork (ninth), Reiz88 (eighth), and PeroQmaloSoy (seventh) were successively ousted, picking up $7,320 apiece.

With acemaKerface the new frontrunner with more than 68 million and Neves in second position, the final six-handed table was underway.


Seat 1: acemaKerface (United Kingdom) -- 68,638,693
Seat 2: doungara (Greece) -- 35,516,472
Seat 3: stsnitro (Russia) -- 22,467,954
Seat 4: Helio "hneves182" Neves (Brazil) -- 57,044,686
Seat 5: topgold1 (Romania) -- 43,035,631
Seat 6: soso74sos (Romania) -- 43,409,868

It had only taken four hours and 15 minutes to play down from 9,241 players to six. Less than 15 minutes later the last five eliminations would come, all five at the hands of Neves.

The blinds were up to 1.5M/3M, and on just the second hand of the final table the short stack stsnitro raised big to 18 million from the button, Helio "hneves182" Neves reraised all in from the small blind, and stsnitro called all in with the just over 2.5 million left behind. stsnitro had K♠7♠ and a couple of live cards versus Neves's A♦Q♣. But the board came 6♣5♠T♣J♥3♦ to miss both players, and stsnitro was out in sixth.

Just over an orbit later, doungara open-raised all in for 23,556,217 from the cutoff, Neves reraise-pushed from the button, and the blinds stepped aside. doungara had A♥6♠ but Neves once again had picked up A♠Q♣. The community cards came 2♣5♦8♠T♣K♠, and doungara was out in fifth as Neves pushed his now-leading stack up close to 110 million.

The final four would battle on for a short while, long enough for the blinds to increase again to 2M/4M. That's when Neves open-raised all in from under the gun, topgold1 called from a seat over, and the others got out of the way. topgold1 was the one with A♥Q♥ this time, while Neves had 8♦8♣. The 2♦3♦6♦ flop hit neither player, then the A♦ came on the turn to give topgold1 aces but Neves an unbeatable diamond flush. The 8♠ river was no matter, and suddenly they were down to three.

At that soso74sos asked about a deal, but as Neves had over 171 million and close to two-thirds of the chips in play, he said he wasn't interested.

A half-dozen hands later Neves shoved from the button and soso74sos called, and after Neves showed T♣7♥ and soso74sos A♠A♥, it looked very much like the Neves train was about to be derailed if only for a moment.

But then came the flop -- 9♥6♦3♦ -- and turn -- 8♠, and just like that Neves had a straight and again his opponent was drawing dead before the river had even been dealt. soso74sos was done in third, while Neves had 237,412,111 versus acemaKerface's 32,701,193 to start heads-up play.

They played four hands, then on the fifth acemaKerface open-pushed all in for about 72 million from the button with J♠T♥ and Neves called in a flash with A♦8♥. The flop came A♥3♦J♣ to pair both players, then the K♥ turn provided some extra outs for acemaKerface. But the river was the 3♥ and after just under four-and-a-half hours, Phase 3 and the tournament was over with Neves the champion. Like all winners of TCOOP events, Neves gets a gold card capper to go along with his first prize.


Congratulations to Helio "hneves182" Neves, the first winner of this year's TCOOP who takes away a huge $110,000 first prize.


Helio "hneves182" Neves

TCOOP-01 ($27 NL Hold'em, 6-Max, Turbo) results
Entrants: 53,311 
Total prize pool: $1,500,000.00

Places paid: 7,044

1. Helio "hneves182" Neves (Brazil) $111,000.00
2. acemaKerface (United Kingdom) $80,850.00
3. soso74sos (Romania) $53,760.00
4. topgold1 (Romania) $27,990.00
5. doungara (Greece) $16,050.00
6. stsnitro (Russia) $10,245.00

Things are just getting started, TCOOP-wise. Check the Turbo Championship of Online Poker site for full details of the remaining events.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in TCOOP