TCOOP 2017: tsikwz tames Tiggrron in Event #12, $82 NLHE (6-Max, Turbo, Shootout)

TCOOP is well-known for tournaments that come and go in the same amount of time that a final table of another series might take. The one kind of tournament that passes at something a normal pace is the shootout. Even with a turbo structure, the next round doesn't start until the first one is complete, meaning TCOOP shootouts remain a test of endurance. tsikwz of Greece made it the full 10 and a half hours required to take down the first shootout on the TCOOP 2017 schedule, including nearly an hour heads-up at the end of the final table, to earn $13,993.44 and a first career COOP title.

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The first cards of the first round were dealt at 10 a.m. ET. The 1,166 players who paid $82 apiece to enter the tournament all had the same goal: win their first table, and then try to win three more. Those who advanced got started on their second round at 20 minutes after noon ET, and it would be another two hours and 15 minutes before the third and semifinal round began.

That round took longer, with a pay jump of at least $1,500 awaiting anybody who could advance to the final. After three hours the last semifinal table finished up when Ukraine's Tiggrron defeated p1relli heads-up to knock the Lithuanian player out in seventh place, setting up this six-handed final:

Seat 1: Foxx_the_dog
Seat 2: tsikwz
Seat 3: Tiggrron
Seat 4: MrNorberto
Seat 5: yodaboyboy
Seat 6: thomber26

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Of the finalists, only thomber26, a TCOOP 2012 Omaha Hi/Lo champion, had ever appeared at a COOP final before. MrNorberto had come close, making the final two tables of a TCOOP event in 2016, as had tsikwz during SCOOP 2011, while the other three were in completely new territory.

The first 30 minutes of play were as open and back-and-forth as you'd expect from a shorthanded table where everyone started with the same amount of chips. Nobody was able to pull very far ahead despite all the action, though. tsikwz's 11,011 chips consituted the largest stack at the table when the first departure came about on the 25/50/5 level.

thomber26 opened the hand in question with a raise to 125 under the gun and was the only caller when Foxx_the_dog re-raised to 500 in the hijack seat. thomber26 checked the 8♠ A♦ 9♦ flop, then raised to 1,850 after Foxx_the_dog bet 650. Foxx_the_dog called and the turn was the 2♥. thomber26 checked again - and then check-raised again after Foxx_the_dog bet 3,050, this time all-in for 8,347 chips total. Foxx_the_dog called all-in for 67 chips less than thomber26's bet and showed A♣ K♥ for a pair of aces with a king kicker, but that trailed thomber26's A♠ 9♠ for two pair, aces and nines. Any eight, deuce, or king could have salvaged Foxx_the_dog's tournament, but the 7♣ came instead to send the Russian player to the rail in sixth.

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The remainder of the final table's first full hour played out in much the same way as the beginning levels had. Only one pot came remotely close to the same kind of action that had eliminated Foxx_the_dogg from the running, and it came on the 30/60/15 level. MrNorberto opened for 180 on the button and called yodaboyboy's small blind re-raise to 540, bringing a 5♥ 2♣ 3♦ flop. yodaboyboy bet 454 there and another 1,155 on the 7♦ turn, and MrNorberto called both times. But after yodaboyboy bet 2,111 following the K♠ river, MrNorberto took down the pot with a 7,592-chip all-in bet that drove yodaboyboy off the hand. That loss halfway through the hour dropped yodaboyboy under 5,000 chips, and by 7 p.m. ET the player from Canada was holding just over 3,400 chips.

At the other end of the spectrum from yodaboyboy was tsikwz. The Greek player was already the clear leader with 20,420 chips at the break, a full 60 big blinds ahead of Tiggrron and thomber26, both clustered together above 12,000 chips apiece. tsikwz expanded that lead two hands into the hour at thomber26's expense with A♠ A♥, checking behind on the K♦ Q♦ 5♦ flop but betting for value on both the 4♥ turn and 9♠ river to earn a 9,033-chip pot.

yodaboyboy continued to look for a chance to climb out of the basement, but two split pots - one with A♠ T♠ for the same ten-high straight as tsikwz's Q♥ T♣, the other with A♦ Q♥ to MrNorberto's A♣ Q♦ - kept the Canadian treading water. yodaboyboy finally took a stand with 2♣ 2♠, moving all-in for 1,701 on the button, but tsikwz called with 9♣ 9♥. Nothing close to help appeared on the 6♥ A♥ T♠ 7♦ Q♥ board, and yodaboyboy left the tournament in fifth.

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With that pot, tsikwz's advantage crept up to nearly 19,000 chips, nearly 120 big blinds more than Tiggrron's 15,625-chip stack, which itself left the Ukrainian player more than 10,000 chips ahead of fellow basement-dwellers thomber26 (5,326) and MrNorberto (4,618). thomber26 was available to win a few thousand chips and began to move ahead of MrNorberto, but then the two met in a coin flip - 5♣ 5♦ against A♠ K♥ - that was won by MrNorberto's Big Slick for 7,476 chips.

thomber26 got right back into things with a double back to 7,532 chips on the following hand, after re-raising tsikwz's under-the-gun opener all-in with A♥ Q♣. tsikwz called with 8♥ 7♥ but thomber26 flopped a pair of aces and turned a Broadway straight. Eight hands later they clashed again, with tsikwz again raising under the gun but thomber26 this time calling from the big blind to see a 4♦ 7♣ 3♣ flop. thomber26 check-raised all-in with A♦ 4♣ for a pair of fours, and tsikwz snap-called with T♦ T♠ and the tens held through the 2♣ turn and 7♠ river to bust thomber26 in fourth.

Only a dozen hands would pass before MrNorberto hit the rail as well. The Hungarian player called tsikwz's button min-raise to 480 from the big blind, seeing an 8♠ 3♠ 9♣ flop. Both player checked there, and tsikwz called a 720-chip bet on the J♥ turn to bring the 9♥ on the river. MrNorberto thought for a few seconds before moving all-in for 2,712 chips, and tsikwz called, showing 5♣ 3♣ for two pairs, nine and treys. That was enough to top MrNorberto's busted flush draw with K♠ 5♠, eliminating the Hungarian in third.

A true heads-up battle

With almost an hour and a half of poker played and the blinds and antes still at a relatively low 120/240/30, heads-up play kicked off with tsikwz holding the lead:

Seat 2: tsikwz (32,777 in chips)
Seat 3: Tiggrron (27,223 in chips)

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Tiggrron claimed the first major pot, one of the largest of the final table even after it ended. The Ukrainian player called tsikwz's raise to 700 and then check-called another 700 on the 9♣ 3♣ A♥ flop. Tiggrron check-called 1,920 more on the T♥ turn and then checked again when the 7♠ came on the river. tsikwz bet 9,420 chips - an overbet of the 6,710-chip pot - and Tiggrron called, showing A♠ 7♣ for aces and sevens. tsikwz had been bluffing with K♥ J♣, so Tiggrron earned the 25,550-chip pot.

After 14 minutes the 5:55 p.m. ET break was looming and Tiggrron still held the lead. The Ukrainian player limped on the button for 320, bringing a J♥ 3♥ 3♣ flop, and then raised to 960 after tsikwz led for 360. tsikwz came back with a three-bet of 2,460, then called when Tiggrron re-raised to 3,960, taking them to the T♣ turn. tsikwz checked there, prompting a 3,200-chip bet from Tiggrron. The Greek player dipped into the time bank for a bit before check-raising to 10,200, which drove Tiggrron off the 15,040-chip pot and gave tsikwz the lead by nearly 25 big blinds as the break began.

The second hand after the break gave tsikwz another boost. The Greek player re-raised Tiggrron's button opener to 2,200, which Tiggrron called to bring a 7♥ 6♦ 9♥ flop. tsikwz check-called 1,800 there and 3,600 more on the K♥ turn before the 6♥ hit the river and both players checked. tsikwz showed 6♠ 5♠, which made trip sixes on the river, and took the 15,290-chip pot as Tiggrron mucked. Another 12,810-chip pot, taken down six hands later after four-betting in position before the flop and continuing with a one-third-pot bet on the 4♠ 6♠ T♣ flop, moved tsikwz's advatnage up to 66 big blinds.

The turning point

The pace of play picked up from there, with dozens of hands passing over the next 10 minutes. Tiggrron picked up the aggression, too, and it paid off with multiple pots. None of them was nearly as big as tsikwz's wins, but together they helped to bring the deficit to less than 20 big blinds. tsikwz rattled off seven wins in a row then that included one worth 11,120 chips, getting back all those lost chips. And then Tiggrron flopped two aces to go with A♦ 7♥ for a 23,030-chip pot, trimming tsikwz's lead to just eight big blinds on the 250/500/60 level.

The blinds and antes continued their relentless march forward and the two player's options became more and more limited with each passing level. Both remained aggressive and the difference between them was negligible when the final major confrontation arrived. Tiggrron opened with a min-raise to 1,200 on the button, holding 4♦ 4♠, and then re-raised all-in for 30,532 after tsikwz re-raised in the big blind. tsikwz snap-called all-in with K♣ K♥ and the kings held up on the A♣ 7♥ J♥ 7♣ Q♣ board to leave Tiggrron with just 1,214 chips.

Tiggrron doubled to 2,428 on the next hand with T♥ 5♣ against tsikwz's pocket sixes after the board gave both players two pair, kings and sevens. But there was no streak in the making; tsikwz's 9♣ 5♠ made a pair of fives on the next flop, all it took to beat Tiggrron's A♠ T♣ and bring the fourth and final round of this shootout to a close.

Second place was worth $10,494 and 80 points on the TCOOP Player Of The Series leaderboard for Tiggrron, while tsikwz earned $13,993.44 and a first career COOP title. The Greek player also earned 100 points on the leaderboard, good enough to move into eighth place at this early point in the series. Congratulations to both players on passing TCOOP 2017's first shootout endurance test!

TCOOP-12: $82 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Turbo, Shootout] results
Entrants: 1,166
Total prize pool: $87,450
Places paid: 216

1. tsikwz (Greece) $13,993.44
2. Tiggrron (Ukraine) $10,494
3. MrNorberto (Hungary) $7,870.50
4. thomber26 (Norway) $5,247
5. yodaboyboy (Canada) $3,498
6. Foxx_the_dog (Russia) $2,168.76

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP