Watching "The Next Iron Chef" on the Food Network with final two chefs battling it out in the kitchen for the right to become the next Food Network personality, had me amazed at their ability to perform under pressure. Basically, the show takes place over several weeks while already established chefs create a variety of dishes under a certain time limit (usually two hours) to be critiqued by a panel of four. Each week another chef is shown the door after having the judges explain that their lobster bisque is better served at the local animal shelter, and sometimes the judges are not even that pleasant. While we won't be serving up salmon mousse to our final nine of the $750,000 Sunday Warm-up they'll have to make do with the five minute breaks every hour to throw a pop tart into the toaster and dreams of a six-figure score.
The clock was ticking for over nine hours of pressure packed play to reach the final table tonight. 675 players of the 4,572 starting runners managed to take a bite of the $914,400.00 prize pool but only one could take home the massive $143,453.25 set out for tonight's champion.
At the final two tables, 2007 WCOOP Event #12 runner-up Hikkespett had a big stack demolished after two virtual coin flips went in favor of the opponent and finished in 16th place ($2,743.20). looshle with a 5th place finish in this very tournament back in June 2008 bowed out in 14th place tonight ($4,114.80) after running pocket deuces into the pocket rockets of RobCurl with the board running dry.
Shorter stacks with two places to the final table gathered their chips into middle as njw11's pocket tens T♥T♦ went up against the J♠A♣ of joscha45. Despite hitting trip jacks on the river, joscha45 was eliminated as the second jack on the T♣ Q♦ J♣ 5♠ J♦ board gave njw11 the 3.2 million chip pot and sent the German World Cup of Poker qualifier joscha45 home in 11th place ($5,486.40).
At the nine hour mark with the bubble awaiting their return, a quick five minute break gave the remaining ten players something to think about, as this author will be thinking about the ribs concoctions these finalists made on Iron Chef tonight for the next few weeks. Yum. Maybe SirRomanov was watching the same show as the icon blinked for several seconds and no reply was found when play resumed and the "out to lunch" sitting out sign was hung below SirRomanov's name. With blinds at 100K/200K ante 20K ante five-handed, free blinds being given up are at a premium especially with the $2K difference between 9th and 10th place. RUIB made an honorable play and gained a little good karma during one orbit and allowed SirRomanov to walk one orbit in the blinds. After regaining consciousness SirRomanov would pick off a few blinds preflop and regained the lost chips during the disconnect.
SirRomanov would make the final table with slightly less than two million chips thanks to the elimination on the other table. Watch the video below as Miss Locks' small chip stack goes into the middle against the aggressive crochepif.
Miss Locks would flop a straight and flush draws but the K♠Q♠ couldn't connect with the 4♠ A♠ T♣ 8♥ 7♣ board any further as crochepif's pocket sixes 6♠6♦ would hold up ensuring crochepif would not repeat as the bubble boy of a Sunday Major as seen during the Sunday Million back in May. Miss Locks was out in tenth place receiving $5,486.40 thus setting up the final table shown below:
Seat 1: jstockton#10 (1888633 in chips)
Seat 2: MIB2121 (1557926 in chips)
Seat 3: crochepif (10234260 in chips)
Seat 4: njw11 (4902360 in chips)
Seat 5: marroca5 (6595530 in chips)
Seat 6: RUIB (10983944 in chips)
Seat 7: SirRomanov (1747132 in chips)
Seat 8: RobCurl (2831377 in chips)
Seat 9: over.be (4978838 in chips)
The huge blinds would immediately come into play for the short stacks tonight starting off at 125K/250K ante 25K, leaving MIB2121, SirRomanov, RobCurl, and jstockton#10 looking for a quick double or triple up in hurry or be blinded off.
MIB2121 would take the first shot, all-in for 1.8 million against RobCurl as both players exposed aces with a small kicker 5♦ for MIB2121 and 2♦ for RobCurl as MIB2121 tourney life was on the line but the 8♥ 4♠ 3♣ 8♣ 4♥ board played out to a split as they divvied up the 4.4 million chip pot. MIB2121 would try again for a double up on the very next hand by open shoving 2.2 million into the middle from the small blind holding 6♥A♣. In a bit of a cooler, crochepif was waiting with enough chips to call and an ace with a higher kicker 9♣A♦. The T♣ 7♣ J♥ J♦ 8♥ board had a shot to produce another split, but instead the river gave crochepif a straight and MIB2121 took ninth place money ($7,315.20) back to Moscow.
Maybe if the internet connection didn't fail at a very wrong time SirRomanov would have had enough chips to prevent the bad beat eighth place finish. Facing a 515,750 chip cutoff raise from njw11, SirRomanov would shove over the top holding K♠A♠ for 1.4 million total. Potential pot odds, plenty of chips and holding a solid A♦8♠ njw11 would make the call. As mentioned the board was not kind to SirRomanov as the 6♦ 7♦ 9♥ flop gave njw11 an open ended straight draw to go with potentially pairing the eight. The Q♣ was safe, but the 5♦ hit the river with a thud, closing the books on SirRomanov in eighth place ($11,430.00).
Four hands later with the blinds still at 125K/250K ante 25K, jstockton#10 would enjoy a double up at the expense of over.be winning a 2.2 million chip pot with rivered trip fives after over.be almost stole the pot holding just 9♦7♣ and turning a pair of nines against the 5♠A♠ of jstockton#10. As mentioned the second five on the board fell on the river and jstockton#10 regained some life.
After the blinds bumped up to 150K/300K ante 30K marroca5 would be the next to benefit from a double up, finding big slick A♣K♠ at the right time as njw11 held Q♠A♦ as the two shoved their chips in preflop to form a 5.8 million chip pot. This non-race ended early as marroca5 would flop two pair on the 2♦ A♥ K♣ 8♠ 7♠ board and win the 5.8 million chips, leaving njw11 with 3.7 million chips.
RobCurl benefited from a gift a dozen or so hands later getting his shortish stack into the middle holding pocket tens T♣T♥ against the pocket jacks J♣J♥ of RUIB. The flopped set of tens would hold on the T♦ Q♠ 6♥ 8♣ Q♥ board as RobCurl took in the 5.9 million chip pot.
Twelve hands later RUIB would find the bulk of that once mighty stack in the middle in the hand below with over.be:
Once again pocket tens were the nemesis as RUIB's pocket tens T♦T♥ couldn't hold off over.be's big slick A♣K♦ on the 8♥ A♥ K♣ 6♣ 3♥ board for the 9.7 million chip pot. The very next hand RobCurl would snap up RUIB's scraps and the once big stack was out in seventh place ($20,574.00).
Shortly after RUIB's elimination, crochepif would start adding to the chip leading stack by knocking off our sixth place finisher. With blinds at 200K/400K ante 40K scrappy short stacked jstockton#10 tried to assist that chip count with a blind steal by shoving all in from the big blind with 7♥J♣ for a little more than one million chips. After raising to 800K from UTG, crochepif easily called the remaining 200K with pocket sixes 6♠6♦. crochepif would spike a set on the turn and boated up on the river 8♥ A♦ K♣ 6♥ 8♣ to send the NBA assists leader's fan home in sixth place ($29,718.00).
Before over.be could say "gg" and crochepif "want to chop" in the chat box, there was another all-in and a call the very next hand. over.be would raise to 800K from the button as njw11 shoved from the big blind for just over four million chips with A♦2♣. over.be covered and made the call with pocket eights 8♥8♠. The Q♠ 7♥ Q♦ T♥ 9♦ mid-range board lacked an ace or a couple ducks as njw11 added another big score from a Sunday tournament. njw11 won $38,862.00 for fifth place to go with a victory in the $80K Sunday Special for $21K back in February.
over.be said, "pause"
RobCurl said, "yes, pause it"
Players attempted to pause the tournament for a four handed discussion after the hand was already dealt. Then, they started an explosion of action that would leave one person missing out on some extra cash. over.be raised from the cutoff to 950K with the blinds still at 200K/400K ante 40K, and was met by marroca5's short stack shove for 3.5 million. RobCurl sat in the big blind with Q♠A♠ and a big decision, a loss would mean less chip equity in the negotiations, but a win would lock up a sizable deal.
"Call" was the answer as over.be abandoned ship quickly and marroca5 turned over the outkicked J♠A♣. The 6♣ 4♠ 7♦ 4♣ Q♣ board improved RobCurl's hand but was enough to cut marroca5 out of the deal in fourth place ($51,663.60).
Bang bang down to three.
This time the players didn't even look at their cards and Team PokerStars Pro Ruben "rubenrtv" Visser (who won a WCOOP bracelet last year) handled pausing the tournament as the remaining trio were given the chip chop amounts. After a lengthy ping pong match of back and forth negotiations the final three came upon the deal shown below:
crochepif - $115,000.00
RobCurl - $100,209.43
over.be - $100,209.42
With six figures a piece locked up it was time to move to playing for the $10,000.00 left on the table for the Sunday Warm-up champion.
The first shift of power had crochepif all-in preflop with K♠Q♦ against RobCurl's 4♦A♦. Holding a 2:1 lead in chips, crochepif could not pair the king or queen on the 5♥ J♣ 5♣ 7♠ J♠ board as the chip lead and 23 million chip pot moved over to RobCurl. Two hands later crochepif would regain most of those chips, but not from RobCurl as crochepif would tangle post flop with over.be, check out the video below for the results:
The river shove bluff holding queen-high J♣8♥ backfired on over.be when crochepif holding 5♠T♠ caught two pair on the river Q♠ 5♥ 2♥ 7♥ T♣ and made the call to win the 19 million chip pot and send over.be out in third place with the six figure chop ($100,209.42).
Down to heads-up play nearly a dead heat (21million for crochepif, 24 million for RobCurl) the 250K/500K ante 50K blinds made sure the players would need to stay aggressive to win the $10,000 left in the prize pool for the winner. Immediately, crochepif would pick off another river bluff, this time holding bottom pair on a scary 4♦ 7♠ 5♦ Q♥ Q♠ board and raking in the 10.5 million chip pot after RobCurl fired at the turn and river to no avail.
Starting off both players would streak by taking down the blinds. First, RobCurl would battle back from the busted bluff by taking down the next four hands. But, crochepif would storm back by winning six out of the next seven, and ten of the next twelve hands. RobCurl stayed somewhat solvent by making sure the two pots taken were worth more than just the blinds (6.4 million and 7.1 million).
In the end, crochepif's aggressiveness was just too much as the lead was expanded to 34.7 million to RobCurl's 10.9 million coming into the final hand. With the blinds pumped up to 300K/600K ante 60K, RobCurl led out from the button with a min raise to 1.2 million and crochepif answered big by shoving all-in. RobCurl finally had enough of crochepif's aggressive play and called with Q♣K♥. This time crochepif held the slightly better hand A♣8♣. The T♣ 4♣ 8♠ flop would take away several of RobCurl's outs as the 3♣ turn gave crochepif the Sunday Warm-up champion title and extra $10,000 by hitting the nut flush.
RobCurl didn't go home empty handed by any means taking in $100,209.43 after chopping three handed and finishing as the runner-up. But, the day was crochepif's as $125,000.00 was the reward for taking down this week's Sunday Warm-up!
Congratulations to all of our final tablist tonight, be sure to check in on Tuesday for the wrap up show on PokerStars.TV to see all the major hands with hole cards exposed and expert commentary.
$750,000 Guarantee Sunday Warm-up Results (11-22-09)
(* denotes part of three-way chop)
1. crochepif (quimper) *$125,000.00
2. RobCurl (Köln) *$100,209.43
3. over.be (Vilnius) *$100,209.42
4. marroca5 (Bogota) $51,663.60
5. njw11 (Streetsboro) $38,862.00
6. jstockton#10 (North Mankato) $29,718.00
7. RUIB (Budapest) $20,574.00
8. SirRomanov (Passau) $11,430.00
9. MIB2121 (Moscow) $7,315.20