With four cards in each player's hand and seemingly limitless possibilities on almost every flop, action is the catchword in every game of Pot Limit Omaha. For certain people, though - probably, though not necessarily, the same kind of people who jump off bridges with bungees tied to their feet or go motorcycle drag-racing sans helmets - a standard nine-handed table doesn't offer nearly enough opportunities to say "Pot!" Luckily for these players there exists a game with pure action running through its veins, the game at hand in today's event: six-handed PLO.
The low buy-in version of this tournament drew a solid field of 3,300 players, building a $165,000 prize pool that topped the guarantee by an even $90,000. Even given the action that was guaranteed to transpire given the game of the day, with just 480 players set to be paid there was a long road ahead to the money.
Once that road was complete, something relatively unusual had occurred. Of the 21 members of Team PokerStars and Team Online who had entered the tournament, not a single one made the money. PLO is a volatile game, of course, and any 3,300-player field is going to be tough to crack, so it was probably bound to happen at some point. Noah "Exclusive" Boeken came the closest, finishing 11 spots away from a cash in 491st place, and Johnny Lodden was within sight of the payouts at 609th. But all the rest of the sponsored players, including ElkY, Lex Veldhuis, Liv Boeree and JP Kelly, fell short. The day wasn't a total PLO wash for PokerStars players - Boeken claimed 10th place in the $5,200 High version of this event and four sponsored pros cashed in the $530 Medium version - but there was no success for them on the Low rung of the ladder.
THE HOME STRETCH
Nine hours into play the blinds were up to 12.5K/25K and the field had been reduced to its final three tables. Leading the way with the final table in sight was Brazil's AnimaleGO, who held a stack of 1.66 million. Close behind were konosz (1.5M), MIC>COM (1.48M), Hasard106 (1.38M), MattRosson (1.36M) and npomocc (1.14M). All six players were still in contention once the field had been whittled down to the penultimate table, with Moldova's npomocc jumping into the lead with 2.6M and AnimaleGO hot on his heels with 2.2M. Soon these two players were sitting right beside each other on Table 289, with konosz across from them on a stack of 2.31M.
With the lead in hand npomocc pressed forward and became the first player to cross both the 3-million-chip and 4-million-chip marks, holding 4.5M with nine players left in the field as each of the others at the table fell down to 2M or less. As the driver of the action it appeared likely that npomocc would be the first one to eliminate or double up another player, but that distinction fell to MIC>COM on this hand:
With only one big blind and change left, AnimaleGO's time appeared to be up. Then the Brazilian went on a run worthy of the legendary Jack "Treetop" Strauss, whose path to the 1982 WSOP Main Event title from a single $500 chip coined the phrase "chip and a chair." AnimaleGO doubled up on four consecutive hands to get back to 732K before taking two hands off and winning a fifth pot to jump right back to 1.5 million, good for second place at the table behind npomocc.
All would not end well for AnimaleGO, however. After taking an extended breather aside from the occasional blind-steal, the Brazilian would find A♠ Q♠ J♥ T♣ in the small blind. Holding one of the best hands an Omaha player can hope to get his hands on, AnimaleGO reraised npomocc's 190K button-raise to 650K. The big blind player, diehardmick, folded, but npomocc elected to four-bet enough and AnimaleGO called all-in for 1.4 million. Up against npomocc's K♣ K♥ 3♠ 2♠, AnimaleGO needed some help. The J♦ 8♠ 3♦ flop was somewhat helpful, and the T♥ turn for two pair put AnimaleGO in position to change the dynamics of the table entirely. The 3♥ on the river, though, was one of five harmful cards in the deck, giving npomocc trip treys and sending AnimaleGO out in 8th place ($1,815).
Soon afterward Ireland's diehardmick would be eliminated in 7th place, falling with A♦ J♠ 7♣ 4♦ to konosz's A♥ Q♥ 9♠ 7♦ to bring the field down to the final table.
AND THEN THERE WERE SIX
This was the situation as the final table began with blinds at 40K/80K:
Seat 1: konosz (2,010,631 chips)
Seat 2: npomocc (6,175,814 chips)
Seat 3: MattRosson (2,087,142 chips)
Seat 4: iwonthurtyou (2,452,254 chips)
Seat 5: MIC>COM (2,731,170 chips)
Seat 6: rover454 (1,042,989 chips)
It didn't take long to find the first elimination of the final table. The eighth hand started with konosz raising to 170,450 and only MattRosson calling from the big blind. The flop came J♠ 9♥ 8♣ and MattRosson checked, prompting a bet of 234,450 from konosz. Almost immediately MattRosson check-raised for the minimum, sending konosz into the time bank. It's something of a truism in PLO that if your opponent represents the nuts on a highly coordinated board, he probably has it; that turned out to be the case on this hand, as konosz discovered after coming out of the time bank with an all-in raise to 1.49M that was quickly called. MattRosson held K♠ Q♣ T♦ 4♣ for the nut straight with a redraw to a higher straight, but konosz had outs to a full house with A♠ Q♥ J♥ 9♣ for top two pair. Unfortunately for konosz, none of them materialized on the T♣ turn or 2♦ river, sending the Greek player home in 6th place with $2,887.50.
From there the pace slowed down a bit, with npomocc, iwonthurtyou, MattRosson and MIC>COM taking turns claiming pots. Short stacked Canadian rover454 tried to get involved on several occasions, winning the blinds here and there but being forced to fold after getting involved in several other pots. After 31 hands of five-handed action rover454 was down to just 452,989 chips, about four and a half big blinds on the 50K/100K level, and the Canadian player opted to put most of that in the middle before the flop with a pot-sized raise to 350K. Both npomocc and iwonthurtyou called, bringing a flop of J♥ J♣ 2♣, at which point iwonthurtyou bet enough to put rover454 all-in. Both rover454 and npomocc called, and the latter checked down with iwonthurtyou as the board ran out 6♥ 8♣. The winning hand turned out to be iwonthurtyou's K♣ K♦ Q♥ T♦ for a king-high flush; rover454 mucked and left in 5th place with $5,293.20.
Much as it had after konosz's elimination in 6th place, the pace was dialed back again after rover454's departure. All four remaining players took turns claiming pots, with Moldova's npomocc staying about 20 big blinds ahead of the competition. Much like rover454 before him, the United Kingdom's MattRosson picked up a few pots preflop or on the flop but didn't have much success winning anything more substantial. Finally, down to 1,039,942 on the 60K/120K level, MattRosson would get his remaining stack in the middle before the flop on this hand:
Just like that MattRosson was out in 4th place, taking home $8,745.
LET'S MAKE A DEAL - AND LET'S MAKE IT NOW!
With the action now three-handed, the remaining players agreed to talk about a possible deal. Sometimes the deal-making process can be a protracted one, especially in tournaments with lower buy-ins. Today's tournament, though, featured one of the fastest deals you'll ever see. As soon as the tournament host came back with the figures - $20,361.22 for npomocc, $18,041.50 for iwonthurtyou and $18,012.28 for MIC>COM, with $1,500 left over for the winner - all three players immediately agreed and got back to the business of determining a champion.
After the deal was done, most pots were taken three-way at least to the flop. It was iwonthurtyou who appeared to take the first big step toward a win, grabbing a pot worth 6.24 million at npomocc's expense after flopping a king-high flush draw, turning a Broadway wrap draw to go with it, and rivering a king for the straight. Eight of the next 13 pots would go to npomocc, though, and when the next five-minute break came the chip counts were back to within a few big blinds of where they had started.
Just after the break MIC>COM flopped a huge draw, holding Q♠ Q♦ 8♠ 6♣ on a board of 7♣ 5♠ 3♠, and caught the flush to win a 6.97 million-chip pot at npomocc's expense and take the chip lead. Seven hands later another flush would boost MIC>COM to a stack of 9 million, while dropping iwonthurtyou to just 3.5 million.
On the very next hand iwonthurtyou would get all of those chips in the middle before the flop holding A♦ Q♠ T♥ 9♦ against npomocc's J♣ J♥ 8♦ 2♦. The A♣ 4♣ 2♣ flop looked to be good news for iwonthurtyou, but the J♦ on the turn flipped the script and meant that only the four kings in the deck could save iwonthurtyou from elimination. The J♠ on the river didn't fit the bill, though, sending iwonthurtyou out in 3rd place with $18,041.50.
MIC>COM was just ahead as heads-up play began, holding an advantage of 8.9 million chips to 7.56 million for npomocc. As they had foreshadowed with their quick willingness to make a deal three-handed, both players breezed through heads-up play, moving through 16 hands in just under four minutes. When a raising war saw them finally got their stacks in the middle before the flop on hand #17, MIC>COM was ahead by just 400K and had the best hand with A♠ K♣ K♥ T♦ to npomocc's Q♣ 9♣ 7♥ 4♥. The 7♦ 5♠ 3♦ flop paired npomocc's 7♥ and opened the possibility of an inside straight, turning the hand into a coin flip. When the Q♥ came on the turn npomocc had two pair and was a 4-to-1 favorite to win the hand; that chance turned into a lock when the river was the 6♠, completing the straight.
Left with just under three big blinds, it appeared to be just a matter of time before npomocc locked up the title. Sure enough, only two hands later MIC>COM would lose with A♥ 5♥ 5♦ T♦ to npomocc's Q♦ T♥ 7♣ 5♠ and bow out in 2nd place with $18,012.28. That gave npomocc the extra share set aside for the winner for a total prize of $21,861.22, not to mention a SCOOP champion's watch and the satisfaction of winning the tournament.
SCOOP Event #34-Low $55 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max Results
1st place: npomocc ($21,861.22)*
2nd place: MIC>COM ($18,012.28)*
3rd place: iwonthurtyou ($18,041.50)*
4th place: MattRosson ($8,745)
5th place: rover454 ($5,293.20)
6th place: konosz ($2,887.50)
* - denotes payouts based on a three-way deal
Be sure to get all the news on the rest of the day's happenings with Nick Wealthall and Joe Stapleton on Inside SCOOP.