You hear it all the time. "I run bad at flips." Or, "I can't win my flips." Or, "I never seem to win flips when they matter." At the final table of the 2013 Turbo Champion of Online Poker Event 17, $109 NLHE (1R1A), Dutch player Paul "padjes" Berende - a SCOOP champion in 2012 -- told the other players, "I'm a better flipper [than you]."
Then Berende proved it by knocking out 6 of the other 8 players - including some flips.
The $400,000 guarantee and six-figure 1st-place prize that Event 17 offered brought out 3,659 players. 2,590 of them used a rebuy; 1,131 added on at the end of the rebuy period. Those totals contributed $738,000 to the prize pool, money that would be split by 495 players. 495th place was worth $339.48; the winner stood to claim almost $116,000.
The prospect of a six-figure payday proved quite popular with the Team PokerStars Pros and the PokerStars Team Online players. 24 of them were in the field, from locales as far flung as Korea, Mexico, Hungary and Brazil. Five hit paydirt, a strike rate significantly about the field average of 13.5%. Jan Heitmann led the pack with a 110th-place finish worth $959.40. He was followed by George Danzer (154th; his quest for the Triple COOP continues), Toni Judet (234th), Christophe de Meulder (333rd) and Ivan Demidov (362nd).
But with no members of the Red Spade Brigade cracking the top 100, the field had one less thing to worry about as it played down to the final table. At just past 6pm server time, these nine players took their seats to battle for the top prizes:
Seat 1: tormos (5091836 in chips)
Seat 2: pads1161 (2402349 in chips)
Seat 3: DJA-01 (494668 in chips)
Seat 4: Tinas21 (1928912 in chips)
Seat 5: bullyon (7952330 in chips)
Seat 6: RocketOnes11 (4356480 in chips)
Seat 7: bostanu24 (6197943 in chips)
Seat 8: Paul "padjes" Berende (3882525 in chips)
Seat 9: Hanamichi23 (4592957 in chips)
Level 48: 150k-300k blinds, 37.5k ante
Average: 4.1 million (13 BBs)
Berende starts the action
The stacks ranged from about double-average for chip leader bullyon to about 1 big blind for short stack DJA-01. DJA-01 put all 332k chips into the pot from under the gun on the first hand of Level 49. A raise from Berende chased the blinds out of the pot, giving DJA-01 some protection. Yet it was domination as Berende showed K♠J♦ to DJA-01's K♣4♠. The board rolled out uneventfully to send the short stack to the virtual rail in 9th place.
Berende flew even higher the next hand by cracking pads1161's pocket aces to end pads1161's day in 8th place. The chips were all in pre-flop, as Berende open-shoved from late position. pads1161 called all in for 1.58 million, but Berende emerged triumphant with K♣Q♠ when four clubs hit the board. pads1161 did not have the ace of clubs.
Those two hands started a run of five straight pots won by Berende. Along the way, Berende knocked out the 7th-place finisher as well. Still in the 200k-400k level, Tinas21 shoved for about 1.2 million with A♣Q♥. Berende got in there from the big blind with T♣5♠ and rivered a straight, 6♠K♦9♠8♣7♥.
Berende keeps crushing
Berende took a brief break and allowed some of the other final table players to get in on the action. RocketOnes11 open-shoved from first position for 3.2 million. bullyon called from the big blind with K♦Q♥, a hand that was racing RocketOnes11's pocket 6s. A king on the turn was the death knell for RocketOnes11's stack.
Berende got back in on the action, pounding away at pots. When five-handed action folded to the blinds, Berende shoved K♣5♠ against big blind Hanamichi23. Hanamichi23 called all in with a better hand, A♥3♠, but Berende paired a king on the flop and rode that pair of kings to the river, collecting another scalp in the process.
It was not surprising to see Berende knock out the 4th-place finisher also. bostanu24 open-shoved from the small blind for 3.4 million with J♦8♦. This time Berende had the ace in the big blind, A♣3♥, and called. Each player paired the 9♣A♥8♣, but Berende's pair of aces was best after the turn 5♥ and river Q♥.
Berende takes it home
Three-handed, Berende had a significant chip lead over bullyon and tormos. But with blinds up to 400k-800k, the three players agreed to talk deal. bullyon wanted to consider an ICM chop, but the other players weren't interested.
As an alternative, bullyon tried to extract $2,000 more than the chip-chop numbers of $98,819.71 (padjes), $81,961.99 (bullyon) and $74,315.30 (tormos) would provide. Berende offered to provide $1,500 to seal the deal. Just as bullyon agreed to that adjustment, tormos wanted to look at ICM numbers, eventually asking for $2,000 extra also. Berende still refused.
"We are all even players here. No skill advantage," said tormos.
"I'm a better flipper," replied Berende (tongue firmly-in-cheek, presumably). "You just agreed last time. I'm not giving up anything more.".
The deal collapsed and play resumed. Three hands back, tormos might have preferred to take the deal:
By knocking out tormos, bullyon had nearly leveled the stacks to start heads-up play against Berende. The two players paused again to chip-chop. padjes locked up $97,906.68, while bullyon claimed $96,305.32. That left just $8,000 to be decided.
It was all Berende from there. The knockout blow came after Berende opened a 2-to-1 chip advantage. Berende limped the button for 1 million, then called after bullyon shoved for 11.5 million. bullyon showed down A♥Q♣, but was behind Berende's pocket kings. bullyon caught a queen on the 8♦3♦Q♥ flop but never improved.
Moments after Berende's victory, @poolshir posted this to Twitter: "Wiiii A Dutch win in the TCOOP! @Paul_Berende "padjes" KK vs AQ holds and gives him a total of $105,906.68! Well done! #Proud #BetterFlipper"
Better flipper indeed. With the win, Berende joins the ranks of player who are one win away from a Triple COOP. He'll have to wait until this year's WCOOP to see if he can grab that unique honor.
2013 TCOOP Event 17 $109 NLHE (1R1A) results (* denotes two-way deal):
1st: Paul "padjes" Berende ($105,906.68)*
2nd: bullyon ($96,305.32)*
3rd: tormos ($60,885.00)
4th: bostanu24 ($42,435.00)
5th: Hanamichi23 ($31,365.00)
6th: RocketOnes11 ($23,985.00)
7th: Tinas21 ($16,605.00)
8th: pads1161 ($9,225.00)
9th: DJA-01 ($5,904.00)
Today is Day 4 of the 2013 TCOOP. That leaves plenty of time and plenty of tournaments to play before TCOOP comes to an end. Get all the TCOOP information you could ever want - schedules, results, point standings and more - at the TCOOP home page.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.