Second chances aren’t particularly rare in SCOOP. With more than a hundred events each year, any player good enough to make it to the final table of one tournament has a good chance to repeat given enough attempts. Getting back to heads-up play a second time is a significantly rarer accomplishment, and pulling through with a win even more so. All this is to say that Chris “NigDawG” Brammer has something to celebrate tonight after earning his first SCOOP title in his second heads-up appearance.
The game in play for Event #14-M of SCOOP 2015 was No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Single Draw. One of poker’s purest forms, it drew a field of 307 players at $215 apiece, building a $61,400 prize pool that more than doubled the guarantee. It took six hours and 24 minutes for 265 players to be eliminated, leaving just the 42 who made the money.
Leading the way at that point, in a field that included Team Online members Matthias “mati312” Brandner and Marcin “Goral” Horecki and past SCOOP/WCOOP/Sunday Million winner Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko, was the United Kingdom’s Kashmir_uzi, who was busy winning the High buy-in version of Event #14. By 8:30 p.m. ET the others had all fallen by the wayside – Mati312 in 32nd ($491.20), Goral in 18th ($675.40), and Zaichenko in 12th ($921) – while Kashmir_uzi sat down to play for a SCOOP title with some talented tablemates:
Seat 1: Maxxx72alba (185,062 in chips)
Seat 2: Chris “NigDawG” Brammer (305,602 in chips)
Seat 3: Mike “SirWatts” Watson (136,904 in chips)
Seat 4: Kashmir_uzi (212,724 in chips)
Seat 5: Darren “darrenelias” Elias (189,181 in chips)
Seat 6: Martin “nizmo jiz” Kozlov (359,767 in chips)
Seat 7: ohhsuitsusir (145,760 in chips)
It was a lineup of heavy hitters, featuring Brammer, a past Super Tuesday and Sunday Rebuy winner who had finished runner-up in a SCOOP event once before and made other final table appearances as well; Watson, a WPT winner and past SCOOP runner-up with one SCOOP Draw final table under his belt already this series; Elias, another WPT winner and two-time WCOOP champion; and Kozlov, a grinder and past Super Tuesday/Sunday Million finalist making the deepest run of any of his six cashes so far this series.
One of those big-leaguers would hit the rail before the blinds and antes had time to jump even once. Watson opened in middle position for 69K, an all-in raise, and Maxxx72alba called in the big blind with 3♠ 10♦ 9♥ 8♣ 2♠, standing pat on the draw. Watson, with 2♥ 6♠ 7♥ 4♠, drew one. Sixteen of the cards in the deck would have helped, but the Q♣ came instead and sent Watson home in 7th place ($1,535).
Darren “darrenelias” Elias had perhaps the most impressive resume of anyone at the final table, but he entered in the middle of the pack and wasn’t able to much more than pick up blinds and antes for the first five orbits or so. And when he finally did get involved in bigger pots, things went south in the span of just two hands.
Hand #30 started with Maxxx72alba raising the minimum to 12K in the hijack, leaving 102K behind. Elias shoved for 255K in the small blind and Maxxx72alba called all-in, putting 245K in the pot. Both players discarded one card and paired their hands, so Maxxx72alba won with 8♦ 6♦ 3♠ 3♥ 2♥ against 8♥ 8♠ 7♠ 5♦ 2♦.
Elias started the next hand with 138K and opened the betting for 12K on the button. Kozlov shoved for 141K in the small blind with 9♥ 6♦ 5♠ 4♥ 3♦ and then stood pat when Elias called all-in. Elias held on to 7♦ 5♦ 3♥ 2♦ and drew one card, the Q♦, ending this bid to add another COOP title to his resume in 6th place ($2,149).
The blinds went up to 3.5K/7K/1.75K shortly after that and action continued on Hand #37 with Brammer opening for 15K under the gun. Kashmir_uzi shoved for 81K in the cutoff and Brammer was the only caller, putting 181K in the pot. Both players drew one card and Brammer won with 9♣ 8♥ 6♣ 5♠ 3♦ when Kashmir_uzi paired up and showed down 8♣ 4♠ 3♥ 2♥ 2♦, sneding Kashmir_uzi to the rail in 5th place ($2,763).
(Both players improved on their finishes here over in the High buy-in version of this tournament – Elias finished 4th, and Kashmir_uzi won the tournament.)
The long haul
After a fairly quick dash through the front half of the final table, these four players were about to get to know each other a lot better over the next 60+ hands even though one of them looked poised to run away:
Seat 1: Maxxx72alba (225,682 in chips)
Seat 2: Chris “NigDawG” Brammer (769,826 in chips)
Seat 6: Martin “nizmo jiz” Kozlov (274,972 in chips)
Seat 7: ohhsuitsusir (264,520 in chips)
The impetus for the long stretch of four-handed play came on Hand #40 when Brammer opened for 15,750 on the button, ohhsuitsusir re-raised to 49K in the BB, and Brammer shoved all-in. ohhsuitsusir called all-in for 259K total, putting 529K in the pot, and stood pat with 8♣ 7♦ 5♥ 4♣ 2♦. Brammer drew one card and came up short with 9♦ 8♥ 6♥ 4♦ 3♠, moving ohhsuitsusir into the chip lead.
The next 60 hands went by with only one pot worth as much as 20 big blinds, and the end result was Brammer and Kozlov switching positions, with Kozlov’s leading stack sitting at 657K. But the 61st (and 101st overall of the final table) made up for all those small pots with a real whopper. Brammer opened for 18K under the gun that hand and called after Maxxx72alba raised all-in for 247K in the big blind, putting 506K in pot, and both players stood pat. Maxxx72alba won with 9♦ 7♦ 5♦ 4♠ 2♦ against 9♠ 8♦ 6♣ 4♦ 2♣.
That left Brammer in a tight spot with just over 10 big blinds in his stack, and four hands later he opened all-in for 83K under the gun. Maxxx72alba called in the big blind and both players drew one card each, with Brammer edging the Russian with 9♠ 8♥ 6♥ 4♥ 2♠ against 10♥ 8♣ 6♠ 5♥ 4♣ for the 178K-chip pot.
By Hand #114 the blinds and antes were up to 5K/10K/2K and Brammer was jostling with ohhsuitsusir to stay out of the basement. He made some progress that hand after Maxxx72alba opened for 20K in the small blind, NigDawG calling from the big blind to put 50K in pot. Maxxx72alba drew two cards and check-called 75K from Brammer, who drew one, only to muck when Brammer showed 9♣ 7♠ 4♥ 3♣ 2♣ for the 200K-chip pot.
That put the pressure on ohsuitsusir, who opened Hand #119 for 25K under the gun. Kozlov called in the big blind, putting 65K in the pot, and drew one card, while ohhsuitsusir stood pat. Kozlov led for 97K, which ohhsuitsusir called, but the Finnish player mucked when Kozlov showed Q♣ 8♥ 7♣ 5♣ 3♠ for the 260K-chip pot.
Five hands later ohhsuitsusir shoved all-in for 68,450 in the big blind over the top of an opening 20K raise from Brammer, who called to build a 152K-chip pot. Both players stood pat and Brammer won with 10♣ 8♦ 7♦ 6♣ 2♦ against 10♥ 9♦ 6♠ 5♣ 2♠, knocking out ohhsuitsusir in 4th place ($3,991).
Even with that knockout, Brammer was still behind with 389K chips while both his opponents were over 570K each. But a run of winning six out of eight pots starting with Hand #136 took him from 558K to 1.01M and moved the tournament into heads-up play. The final hand of that stretch opened with Kozlov raising to 20K on the button and Maxxx72alba calling in the small blind before Brammer re-raised to 85K in the big blind. Kozlov called to build the pot to 197K chips, and then Maxxx72alba moved all-in for 291K total. Brammer raised all-in to isolate and drove Kozlov out of the pot. Maxxx72alba stood pat on 10♣ 6♥ 5♥ 3♣ 2♠, while NigDawG drew one.
That one card, as it turned out, made the nuts – NigDawG showed 7♠ 5♠ 4♠ 3♦ 2♣ for the 674K-chip pot, and Maxxx72alba left the tournament in 3rd place ($6,447).
The 6K/12K/3K blind level began just as heads-up play was getting underway between the two players who had entered the final table with the biggest chip stacks:
Seat 2: Chris “NigDawG” Brammer (1,013,878 in chips)
Seat 6: Martin “nizmo jiz” Kozlov (521,122 in chips)
Chris Brammer had been this close to a SCOOP title once before, in 2013’s Event #20-H. He started off behind in chips that time and finished second as all the significant pots went to his opponent. In the sequel, though, all those plot points flipped in his favor.
The 22 pots played during heads-up were split nearly evenly in number, with 12 going to Brammer and 10 to Kozlov. But the key ones went Brammer’s way, starting with the eighth hand, which Kozlov opened for 30K on the button. Brammer called and drew two while Kozlov stood pat and then checked, prompting a 21K-chip bet into the 66K-chip pot, and Brammer check-raised to 162K total. Kozlov dipped into the time bank before calling and mucking when Brammer showed 8♠ 6♣ 4♥ 3♣ 2♦.
That 390K helped Brammer to hold Kozlov back in the early going when the Australian had begun closing the initial gap between their stacks. Over the next 13 hands they maintained equilibrium until Hand #165 of the final table, which Kozlov opened for 30K. Brammer re-raised to 96K and Kozlov called with 198K now in the pot and 308K left behind. Brammer stood pat on J♣ 9♣ 6♦ 3♠ 2♦ and Kozlov drew one, shoving all-in when Brammer checked after the draw. Brammer went into the time bank before calling, taking the pot and ending the tournament when Kozlov showed 10♥ 10♣ 8♦ 7♦ 2♣ for a pair of tens on the draw.
Second place was worth $9,210 to Mr. Kozlov, who can add “SCOOP runner-up” to the list of descriptors that certainly will one day need to be updated to include a championship of some sort. As for the winner, some of his past SCOOP finishes may have been worth more, but even with the lower $12,894 payout this time around it has to be satisfying to be able to call oneself a SCOOP champion. Congratulations to him on finally laying claim that champion’s watch.
SCOOP 14-M: $215 No-Limit Single Draw 2-7
Prize pool: $61,400
Places paid: 42
1. Christopher “NigDawG” Brammer (United Kingdom) $12,894
2. Martin “nizmo jiz” Kozlov (Australia) $9,210
3. Maxxx72alba (Russia) $6,447
4. ohhsuitsusir (Finland) $3,991
5. Kashmir_uzi (United Kingdom) $2,763
6. Darren “darrenelias” Elias (Canada) $2,149
7. Mike “SirWatts” Watson (Canada) $1,535
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.