TCOOP 2016: SKD20™ dodges the bad beats and trademarks Event #32 with a win

You know a final table is going to be entertaining when you see aces get cracked twice and two players eliminated in the first few hands.

Bad beats were something of a trademark at the final table of Event 32, a $7.50 NL Hold'em Turbo rebuy tournament with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. I lost count in the end, but it's safe to say the best hand really didn't hold up all that often. Considering our final 9 players had battled their way through 6,797 other players to get there, that's pretty brutal. But hey, that's poker, right?

One player who knows a thing or to about trademarks and dodging the suck-outs is Australia's SKD20™, our latest TCOOP champion. We've got plenty of hands to get through in the story of how he'd net himself the $36,374.61 first place prize, so let's get down to it.

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Faces in the crowd

With just three tables left there were a few names that might seem familiar to followers of the online felt. Pablo 'gordiju' Gordillo, a player who pulled off arguably one of the sickest Sunday sessions on PokerStars...maybe ever, went very deep in this event (21st for $551.42), as did a player from the Netherlands who goes by the name Elmagico19A1. The latter had great bookends to 2015, winning the Sunday Warm-up in January and the Super Tuesday in December for a combined $177,000, but he'd eventually fall in 15th ($1,008.99).

The most evidently accomplished player at this final table, when it comes to tournaments, was PokerStars Supernova Pokerfan89Gr. The Greek player had almost a million dollars in online results coming into this event, including wins in the Sunday Kickoff, the Big $109, and the $530 Monday PL Omaha 6-Max event; not to mention many big-time final tables. Now you can add another impressive final table to that list.

The final 9

Here's how they looked when we got down to one table:

gahoibvthakn (Brazil) 21,595,994
zerucka (Georgia) 20,689,100
Kasabian88 (Russia) 6,353,406
SKD20™ (Australia) 53,134,319
scrubbyz (Canada) 61,097,455
Pokerfan89Gr (Greece) 24,973,779
stam89 (Netherlands) 6,695,777
aurimelis (Lithuania) 11,318,938
basketziomb2 (Poland) 6,358,232


The blinds were 800K/1.6M by this point and so with 3 or 4 significantly short stacks in play we expected to see some action. We didn't necessarily expect to see the best starting hand in Hold'em beaten. Twice.

Our first elimination came when it was folded around to scrubbyz and he shoved on the button for 59 million. Pokerfan89Gr let it go and stam83 snap called from the big blind with the pocket rockets (A♣A♥) which was up against Q♣T♥. The 8♣2♠J♠ flop presented only one dangerous card on the turn or river - a nine. Just like that, the 9♠ appeared on the turn, giving scrubbyz a queen-high straight, and the J♦ river couldn't help. stam83 said goodbye in 9th place for $1,830.26.

That gave scrubbyz the chip lead with 75 million. Just a few hands later we had another all-in and a call; this time Pokerfan89Gr open shoved under-the-gun for just under 21 million and basketziomb2 called from middle position, with a stack of just 2.3 million. Both were somewhat standard plays, as Pokerfan89Gr had A♠K♦ but basketziomb2 was poised for the double up with A♣A♥.


It wasn't to be though. The board ran out J♥2♦6♠Q♥T♥ and gave Pokerfan89Gr the straight, eliminating basketziomb2 in 8th for $2,933.11.

Pokerfan89Gr had enjoyed a nice start to this final table, but he would hit a big bump in the road shortly after when a mistimed shove with K♥2♥ for 24 million on the button ran into gahoibvthakn's K♣K♦ out of the big blind. This was a hand where the best hand did indeed hold up. gahoibvthakn shot up to 44 million while Pokerfan89Gr slipped to just 2 million.

Our 7th place elimination wasn't so much a bad beat; after all, Kasabian88 didn't even have a full big blind and was all-in when it came round to him. He'd managed to pick up pocket nines, which was pretty lucky you might say. Not when gavoibvthakn shoved, forcing everyone else to fold, and then revealed pocket queens though. There would be no nine, straights or flushes for Kasabian88, but there was a $5,162.27 payday to ease the bust-out blues.

Ups and downs

Now here's another one of those cheeky suck-outs I was talking about earlier. The blinds were now 1M/2M and zerucka limped from early position. scrubbyz would shove on the button for 65M, more than enough to put all the remaining players all-in, and Pokerfan89Gr would make the call having basically been put all-in by the big blind. zerucka wasn't ready to play for it all yet and let it go.

The T♥T♣ for scrubbyz was ahead of Pokerfan89Gr's 9♥8♥, although we all know how plucky those suited connectors can be sometimes. The flop was a kind one for the all-in player: 6♠7♠4♠, giving him an open-ended straight draw. The turn was even kinder - the 5♦. The 9♦ changed nothing and it was a welcome double for Pokerfan89Gr, even if it was just for 7 million total.


The hope from that hand wouldn't last long though, as we quickly had our 6th place finisher. Pokerfan89Gr shoved on the button for little over 5 million and aurimelis from Lithuania isolated with a shove of his own for 10 million. gahoibvthakn gave up the big blind and the cards were on their backs: 3♦A♥ for Pokerfan89Gr against T♥K♠ for aurimelis.

The ace-high was ahead, but we're sure you can see where this is going by now. A K♦2♣J♥8♠6♥ paired aurimelis' king, and that was all she wrote. Aurimelis chipped up to 16 million while Pokerfan89Gr banked $7,508.76.

The next best pre-flop hand to lose belonged to SKD20™, much to zerucka's delight. The latter had shoved for 12.4 million on the button and SKD20™, who was chip leader at the time with 75 million, made the call from the small blind.

It was A♥2♠ for the big stack and Q♦T♣ for zeruka, who would need to hit to survive. And hit he did. The board ran out Q♥5♦9♦K♦7♥ and it was eureka for zurecka, who doubles to 29 million while SKD20™ slipped to 63 million.

Zureka's good fortune continued with another double up just 4 hands later, this time at the expense of another big stack belonging to scrubbyz.

scrubbyz open-shoved for 57.3 million and zureka called for 30.8 million. When the cards were revealed we saw the 7♣7♠ in front of zureka and the J♦K♣ in front of scrubbyz. On first glance we zureka's pocket pair had been outflopped, but on closer inspection the T♥7♦K♦ flop had given zureka a set of sevens. The 6♥ turn and 9♥ river couldn't improve scrubbyz, who dropped to 23.9 million, while zureka was now sitting pretty with 69.5 million.

An orbit later and we had a classic race. The blinds were 1.5M/3M and zureka opened to 6,540,000, only for aurimelis to shove for 12,303,472. zureka made the call.

aurimelis: J♠J♦
zureka: A♠Q♦

You're probably thinking that, as I've waffled on so much about bad beats, zureka is bound to hit an ace or queen and beat the pocket pair, right?

Right you are - not until the turn though. The 7♦2♣T♠ flop was sweet and safe for aurimelis, but the A♥ turn and T♥ river were no help to him. For 5th place, aurimelis won $9,855.25.

Then there were 4

Here's how the chip counts looked with 4 players remaining:

SKD20tm 82,082,719
zerucka 77,772,372
gahoibvthakn 30,882,894
scrubbyz 21,479,015

There were 2 big stacks, 2 shorter stacks, but everything still to play for.

The final stretch

In turbos it never takes too long to whittle down to a winner, and tonight was no exception. When it was folded around to the blinds (2M/4M), gahoibvthakn shoved for 33 million and zureka snapped it off with the bigger stack. It was 8♣8♦ for the player at risk, but zureka had him crushed with the T♥T♠. As gahoibvthakn was hoping for an 8 or some miracle straight or flush draws to appear, we saw a board containing the Q♥4♥A♣7♠7♦ - which was far from ideal. Gahoibvthakn was eliminated in 4th place winning $13,175.33 for his efforts.

This shot zureka up further into the chiplead with 109 million to SKD20™'s 74 million and scrubbyz' 27 million. You could soon add that short stack to zureka's though, as we'd lose scrubbyz in 3rd.

He shoved from the small blind for 22 million and zureka made the call with the 3♦A♣ - ahead of the 8♠6♠ for scrubbyz. There would be no outdrawing done this time either - a tame board of the J♥3♣2♠9♥7♣ paired zureka's 3 and eliminated scrubbyz for $19,006.56.

We were now heads-up. Chipleader zerucka (123 million) posed the question of a deal but there was no response from SKD20™ (88 million).

It seemed to have been a good decision to stay silent as SKD20TM began to pick up pace and took over the chiplead. However, it flipped right back when SKD20™ min-opened to 10M and zeruka called. The flop was the 7♦J♠8♥ and zureka checked, leading to SKD20™ continuing for 8.5M, which was called again. The turn was the 3♣ which both checked, but on the 3♠ river zureka took the betting lead for 20,655,000. SKD20™ made the call but mucked when zureka showed 9♠T♣ having flopped the nuts. That put zureka back up to 120 million while SKD20™ was still strong with 91 million.

Just a few hands later and SKD20™ had taken a small lead again. Then we reached our final hand.

The blinds were now 3M/6M and SKD20™ min-opened to 12M, which zureka called. There was an 8♣2♥6♠ flop and zureka checked, making way for SKD20™ to continuation-bet for 10,965,000. zureka now opted to 3-bet to 25,222,222, and after some tanking SKD20™ shoved for 97,352,719. zureka called and we knew our winner was basically going to be decided here.

Both had flopped top pair, but zeruka's 7♣8♥ was out-kicked by SKD20™'s 8♦9♥. The turn was the 3♥. The river was the 2♠. And it was all over.


For a 2nd place finish in this event, zeruka won $26,984.62.

'Winner of TCOOP 2016 E#32' will now always be SKD20™'s trademark. Congratulations on your $36,274.61 score, sir.

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TCOOP-32 ($7.50+R, NL Hold'em, 3x-Turbo) results

Entrants: 6,806
Rebuys: 23,563
Add-ons: 4,037
Total prize pool: $234,648.92
Places paid: 855

1. SKD20™ (Australia) $36,274.61
2. zeruka (Georgia) $26,984.62
3. scrubbyz (Canada) $19,006.56
4. gahoibvthakn (Brazil) $13,175.53
5. aurimelis (Lithuania) $9,855.25
6. Pokerfan89Gr (Greece) $7,508.76
7. Kasabian88 (Russia) $5,162.27
8. basketziomb2 (Poland) $2,933.11
9. stam83 (Netherlands) $1,830.26

Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Jack Stanton
@J_W_Stanton in TCOOP