Now in its sixth year, the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker has crowned a lot of winners – 546 before this installment of the series began. As plentiful as they are, with three different buy-in levels available for each tournament, SCOOP titles aren’t particularly easy to win more than once. Of all the winners, before today only 29 had managed to emerge victorious more than one event. But now the list has grown by one thanks to raidalot’s victory in Event #16-H.
A $1,050 No-Limit Hold’em event with re-buys and the Big Antes structure, this tournament attracted a small but incredibly tough field of 317 players. They combined for 226 re-buys and 284 add-ons on Day 1 to build an $827,000 prize pool that more than doubled the guarantee. The bottom half of the 36 places that paid out would finish before the end of Day 1, including a cash by Team PokerStars Pro’s own Nacho Barbero in 23rd place ($7,029.50).
Day 1 ended with just 17 players remaining from the 317 that started. Past SCOOP champion raidalot of the United Kingdom, who won Event #20-M back in 2012, held the lead with 515,837 chips, followed by Supernova Elite Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (313,308), and Belgian player Civell (238,544). Further down the leaderboard were Mike “SirWatts” Watson (178,545), Mike “Sowerss” Sowers (126,600), and six-time COOP winner Dan “djk123” Kelly (133,820). All of them but Sowers (14th place, $11,164.50) and Watson (13th, $11,164.50) would still be in the hunt when the final table was set at 11:52 a.m. ET:
Seat 1: Dan “djk123” Kelly (183,086 in chips)
Seat 2: CrownUpGuy (198,870 in chips)
Seat 3: raidalot (823,959 in chips)
Seat 4: Isidinho (568,238 in chips)
Seat 5: Civell (288,985 in chips)
Seat 6: Russell “rdcrsn” Carson (185,910 in chips)
Seat 7: TheMuppet (135,898 in chips)
Seat 8: RomeOpro (425,758 in chips)
Seat 9: Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (238,296 in chips)
With 2.5K/5K/1K blinds and antes there was room for even the shorter stacks to maneuver as the final table began. Kelly won 131K on first hand and picked up a few smaller pots in the first orbit, but tangling with raidalot on Hand #10 dropped him back below where he’d begun the final table:
Hand #15 dropped Kelly further back. He opened the betting with a minimum raise to 12K in early position and called Civell’s re-raise from the cutoff to 28K, bringing an A♣ 10♣ J♦ flop. Kelly check-called 24K there and both players checked the 5♥ turn. Kelly checked on more time on the K♦ river before folding to Civell’s all-in bet, shipping the 124K-chip pot to the Belgian player.
The blinds and antes climbed to 3.5K/7K/1.4K and the next 20 hands went by with most of the pots worth 10 big blinds or less. Finally, 43 minutes after the final table began, the first player would fall.
Russell “rdcrsn” Carson – a past winner of Team Online’s “Sickest Setup” competition – opened the betting with a raise to 15K under the gun. The action folded around to Isidinho in the small blind and the German player re-raised to 36K. After dipping into the time bank, Carson, holding J♥ J♠, moved all-in for 173K. Isidinho called with Q♥ Q♣, the board came K♦ 2♦, and rdcrsn was out in 9th place ($15,713).
Just six minutes and seven hands later, Dan Kelly opened for 14K in the cutoff and raidalot called in the small blind. The flop came 8♦ 2♣ 10♣ and raidalot checked to Kelly, who bet 17K into the 46K-chip pot. raidalot check-raised to 42K, then called after Kelly jammed for 132K total. The six-time COOP winner showed K♣ 8♣ for middle pair with a club flush draw, while raidalot held Q♣ 10♥ for top pair. That improved to two pair on the Q♠ turn and queens full on the Q♥ river, knocking Kelly out of the tournament in 8th place ($20,675).
Another six minutes went by before CrownUpGuy from Austria ended up all-in with A♥ 4♣ against raidalot’s A♠ 9♣, The board gave the Austrian a reprieve, falling J♦ Q♦ K♠ 5♣ 10♠ to give both players half the pot with a Broadway straight. It was the next hand, the 51st of the final table, that narrowed the field further, and raidalot was involved once again. The U.K. player opened for 14K in the cutoff with A♥ 9♣ and called after TheMuppet jammed for 62K in the big blind with A♣ 8♣. The board came 2♥ 5♦ 10♥ 7♦ 9♦, giving raidalot a pair of nines to send TheMuppet out in 7th place ($28,945).
The parade of short stacks to the rail continued two hands later with nearly identical action. Isidinho made the opening cutoff raise to 14K, holding 2♠ 2♣, and called when Supernova Elite Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia shoved for 87K in the small blind with A♣ Q♣. The Q♠ A♦ 5♦ flop was great news for pistons87, and the 8♣ turn did no harm. But the 2♦ on the river gave Isidinho a set, sinking pistons87’s two pair and knocking Mandavia out in 6th place ($37,215).
Five-handed and deep-stacked
After that rush of knockouts the field had been cut in half and nearly everyone still in the running had plenty of chips to work with comapred to the 3.5K/7K/1.4K blinds and antes:
Seat 2: CrownUpGuy (68,173 in chips)
Seat 3: raidalot (1,219,025 in chips)
Seat 4: Isidinho (103,2061 in chips)
Seat 5: Civell (291,533 in chips)
Seat 8: RomeOpro (438,208 in chips)
The only player in real danger was CrownUpGuy, but the Austrian was game for the challenge. Just five hands after Isidinho’s departure, CrownUpGuy, holding K♦ 9♠, opened the action with an all-in raise to 47K in the small blind. raidalot called with A♥ 7♥ in the big blind but couldn’t stay ahead as the board fell K♣ 4♣ 5♠ J♣ Q♣, giving CrownUpGuy the 101K-chip pot with a pair of kings. Another five hands later a desperate table image paid off when the Austrian picked up Q♦ Q♠ in the small blind and shoved for 97K over the top of RomeOpro’s 14K button raise. RomeOpro made the call with A♥ 9♦ and hit the 7♠ 7♥ 9♣ flop, but the 5♠ 3♠ turn and river gave CrownUpGuy the 209K chips in the pot.
With the deep stacks in play not all of the action was about shorties staying alive. Belgium’s Civell took down multiple pots worth more than 200K, and RomeOpro from the Ukraine won one worth 189K with J♦ J♠. Then Isidinho and raidalot squared off in this unusual pot that boosted the former firmly into the chip lead:
raidalot got some of those chips back by pressuring CrownUpGuy out of a 242K-chip pot but gave them all back over to Civell a few hands later, allowing the Belgian to climb into a virtual tie for the chip lead with Isidinho. Meanwhile CrownUpGuy continued to look for a chance to chip up, especially with the blinds and antes climbing to 5K/10K/2K. But those chances were few and far between, and at 1:42 p.m. ET the Austrian would make a final stand:
Without help from the board CrownUpGuy was out in 5th place ($47,966).
Four-handed play would end up lasting an hour and a half. With every remaining player deep-stacked, RomeOpro, who had been relatively quiet as the shorter stacks made their stands, began to get involved a lot more often. raidalot began to climb back from a five-handed low point, and Civell continued to pick up large pots like this one to remain atop the heap:
Most of the four-handed stretch saw Isidinho staying relatively quiet comapred to the other three players, but toward the end of it the German player began to get more active again. That proved to be bad news for RomeOpro, who was at the bottom of the leaderboard and looking for a way to get back into the middle.
At 3:11 p.m. ET the blinds and antes were at 7K/14K/2.8K when RomeOpro opened the betting with a raise to 35K under the gun and Isidinho put in a third bet of 78K. A call would have left RomeOpro with only 195K behind, so the Ukrainian player moved in for 273K instead to try to pick up the 139K already in the pot uncontested. Isidinho called with A♠ J♥ and was trailing RomeOpro’s 10♣ 10♦. The 8♠ K♠ 8♣ flop was safe, but the Ukrainian fell behind on the A♣ turn. One of the two tens in the deck would have changed things, but the 9♥ came instead, Isidinho dragged the 572K-chip pot, and RomeOpro was out in 4th place ($70,295).
Three-handed play began with each player holding at least 60 big blinds:
Seat 3: raidalot (848,353 in chips)
Seat 4: Isidinho (1,181,618 in chips)
Seat 5: Civell (1,019,029 in chips)
The level of aggression ramped up as everyone was more willing to bail and play another hand rather than putting the tournament on the line with a marginal holding. As a result the three-handed portion of play would take another hour. raidalot made the most of the first 30 minutes of this period. After winning three of the first four pots to climb into a narrow chip lead with 1.11M, the U.K. player seized more than half the chips in play by applying continuous pressure:
By 3:42 p.m. ET the blinds and antes were up to 8K/16K/3.2K and Isidinho’s stack had been whittled down to 428K. Civell opened the next hand for 33K on the button and raidalot called from the small blind. Isidinho, holding 7♦ 7♣, didn’t waste much time jamming for 425K total, and Civell pondered the situation for just a few seconds before calling with A♣ 10♥. The 6♠ 6♦ 5♠ 4♦ Q♦ board never hinted at danger and Isidinho was back in the mix with 894K chips.
Just three hands later a similar strategy nearly backfired but a friendly card ended up propelling Isidinho into the chip lead with what would end up being the second-largest pot of the entire tournament:
As the owners of the two trailing chip stacks, Civell and raidalot ended up squaring off pretty often after that point. Civell maintained the upper hand for a while but this hand at 4:01 p.m. ET proved to be a turning point:
Another showdown with raidalot seven hands later, after the blinds and antes rose to 10K/20K/4K, left Civell holding 332K. Seven hands later the Belgian was down to 203K in the small blind and opened the betting by moving all-in with A♣ 9♠. raidalot was in the big blind and called quickly with A♥ K♦, which held up unimproved on a 7♣ 4♥ 5♠ 10♠ 2♥ board to eliminate Civell in 3rd place.
Going for the double
Heads-up play kicked off at 4:13 p.m. ET with Isidinho, fresh off a fourth-place finish in Event #17-H and a second in Event #3-H, in the lead and raidalot looking to come from behind for a second career SCOOP title:
Seat 3: raidalot (1,300,669 in chips)
Seat 4: Isidinho (1,748,331 in chips)
The match would last 47 hands and take 18 minutes from start to finish. The first tick upward for raidalot came at 4:22 p.m. Isidinho opened for 40K on the button and raidalot called to bring a 4♣ J♥ 3♦ flop. raidalot check-called 44K there, another 89K on the 2♥ turn, and 123K on the 10♦ river, before showing down J♣ 8♣ for top pair to beat Isidinho’s bluff with Q♦ 5♥ and drag the 602K-chip pot.
raidalot was then back to within 8BB, and back to even within a few hands, before Isidinho won this monster at 4:24 p.m. to jump back in front:
Isidinho’s resurgence was short-lived, however. Three minutes and five hands later the balance of power shifted back in raidalot’s favor after check-calling pot-sized bets from Isidinho on the flop and turn of a 2♠ 5♥ 2♣ K♣ 4♣ board and getting paid off on a raise after making a full house on the river with 4♥ 4♦.
That 1.41M-chip pot meant raidalot now held 1.8M chips. The U.K. player would go on to win five of the next seven hands, including the largest of the entire tournament at 4:31p.m. ET to bring the game to an end:
Isidinho wasn’t able to hold onto that heads-up lead but did pick up $124,050 for finishing in second place. Together with 11 other cashes, including second- and fourth-place finishes, that moves the German player into second place on the SCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard. Meanwhile raidalot, who earned $169,121.50 for the win, becomes the 30th player in SCOOP history to win two career titles. Congratulations to both players for a job well done!
SCOOP 16-H: $1,050+R NLHE (Big Antes)
Entrants: 317 (226 re-buys, 284 add-ons)
Prize pool: $827,000
Places paid: 36
1. raidalot (United Kingdom) $169,121.50
2. Isidinho (Germany) $124,050
3. Civell (Belgium) $93,451
4. RomeOpro (Ukraine) $70,295
5. CrownUpGuy (Australia) $47,966
6. Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (Canada) $37,215
7. TheMuppet (United Kingdom) $28,945
8. Dan “djk123” Kelly (Australia) $20,675
9. Russell “rdcrsn” Carson (Canada) $15,713
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.