Jack “Treetop” Straus probably wasn’t the first player to win a tournament after finding himself the shortest stack, but after becoming poker’s world champion via just that route in 1982, his name became forever intertwined with the ultimate poker tournament comeback. PokerStars players and watchers had the opportunity to see a little bit of modern-day “treetopping” on SCOOP 2016’s second day with a nifty victory by the United Kingdom’s bustitoyoni in Event #2-M.
A Special Edition of the Sunday Warm-Up, Event #2-M of this year’s SCOOP series featured a Progressive Super-Knockout payout structure that split the total prize pool evenly between regular payouts and bounties. The more bounties a player collected, the larger their own bounty became, rewarding aggressive play even for those who didn’t make the payouts. It was an intriguing enough prospect to draw 5,056 players for a total prize pool of $1,011,200.
A full day of play resulted in several thousand bustouts and exactly 648 players collecting payouts from the regular prize pool. Meanwhile everyone who knocked out at least one opponent collected a share of the bounty prize pool, including some players who didn’t make it to the the top 675 spots. Tops among them was Russia’s sava-lenivec, who managed to collect $937.50 in bounties before being knocked out in 764th place.
The top 27 players earned the right to return for action at 11am ET on Day 2. Blinds and antes began at 50K/100K/12.5K and the average stack was worth 37 big blinds, led by Germany’s Armani1974 with 8.13 million chips.
Five and a half hours later the final table would begin immediately after Armani1974’s elimination in 10th place, with blinds and antes going up to 200K/400K/50K and these nine players looking to bag a SCOOP watch for two days’ work:
Seat 1: tinchoarce (19,789,264 in chips)
Seat 2: k@sten161 (13,654,450 in chips)
Seat 3: bustitoyoni (4,460,454 in chips)
Seat 4: Grospelllier (6,335,980 in chips)
Seat 5: Strz (6,892,852 in chips)
Seat 6: AJFC6819 (13,789,741 in chips)
Seat 7: fengikareh (10,960,087 in chips)
Seat 8: iveydoagrest (16,769,393 in chips)
Seat 9: iJzzOnUrHand (8,467,779 in chips)
bustitoyoni was the shortest stack as the final began, holding on to a little less than 14 big blinds. Even with 20-minute levels that meant there was considerable pressure to find a spot to double up quickly, and that spot presented itself on the fifth hand. bustitoyoni picked up 3♦ 3♠ in the small blind and re-raised all-in after chip leader iveydoagrest opened for 800K. iveydoagrest took a stab at the KO and called with Q♦ 10♥ but the treys held up on the 9♥ 9♣ 7♠ 8♦ K♥ board to give bustitoyoni the 9.1M-chip pot.
Strz repeated the feat a few hands later, doubling to 13.9M with A♥ A♣ after re-raising all-in over the top of tinchoarce’s opening 840K-chip bet and ending up heads-up against AJFC6819, who cold-called with A♦ Q♠ in the big blind. But those newfound chips all moved to bustitoyoni’s stack two orbits later when Strz couldn’t top A-Q again, losing out with 10♣ 10♦ when bustitoyoni’s A♣ Q♦ turned an ace.
Stopping there would have left bustitoyoni in solid position with the fourth-largest stack at the table, but another big pot two hands later ended up making the player from the U.K. the new chip leader. This one didn’t require risking everything, though: bustitoyoni called past Sunday Warm-Up finalist fengikareh’s under-the-gun, pre-flop raise to 1.05M, then called 1.4M and 2.5M on the flop and turn, respectively, before checking behind on the river with the board reading Q♣ 3♣ 10♥ K♣ 6♣. fengikareh’s A♦ K♦ had made a pair of kings, but bustitoyoni won the 11.2M chips in the middle with J♠ J♣ and a club flush.
The trip from basement to penthouse would be complete one orbit later after AFJC6819 opened all-in for 6.6M under the gun with A♠ K♣. bustitoyoni called on the button with A♥ A♣, the board came 10♦ 8♣ 10♣ Q♠ 3♣, and AJFC6819 collected $4,044.80 plus $1,412.89 in bounties for 9th place.
Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.
The new short stack was Grospelllier, a past Sunday Kickoff finalist who was working with less than a million chips and subject to the whims of the deck. Those whims quickly led to three consecutive wins and an 8.8M-chip stack, and soon iJzzOnUrHand, k@sten161, and fengikareh put their tournament lives on the line with similar results. Finally two of them collided head-on, k@sten161 with 7♠ 7♥ and iJzzOnUrHand with A♦ J♠. k@sten161 needed a seven after the A♥ J♠ 9♠ flop but didn’t get one from the 4♣ turn or K♠ river, leaving the German player to collect $6,320 plus $6,951.51 in bounties in 8th place.
fengikareh reversed the trend momentarily, doubling to 14.2M when an ace on the flop and another on the turn helped A♥ 9♣ beat the 10♣ 10♥ in tinchoarce’s hand. Then 28 hands went by without a showdown, a stretch that saw the blinds and antes advance to 500K/1M/125K and iveydoagrest’s stack drop to 5.9M. The Brazilian player then picked up K♠ 10♠ on the button and moved all-in, picking up a call from 2014 & 2015 SCOOP finalist tinchoarce in the big blind with 9♥ 9♠. tinchoarce picked up a set on the 6♥ J♠ 9♣ flop and dodged the four queens in the deck on the 2♦ turn and 4♦ river, winning the 13.8M-chip pot, and iveydoagrest collected $11,376 plus $2,946.86 in bounties for 7th place.
A new sheriff
bustitoyoni had an opportunity to take an enormous chip lead shortly after that. Having raised the minimum to 2M with A♦ K♠ in the cutoff seat, bustitoyoni called when fengikareh shoved for 18.4M in the big blind, only to see fengikareh take the 38.1M-chip pot with 8♦ 8♣ for a set on the 2♣ 6♦ 8♠ 5♦ 10♣ board.
That also cost Grospelllier a chance to climb the pay ladder, and a few hands later the player from Hungary would be forced all-in on the big blind with 9♣ 8♣. fengikareh called with 10♠ 8♠, fell behind on the 4♣ J♠ 9♠ flop but picked up a straight flush draw. It didn’t come home on the 5♥ turn or 10♦ river, but that river card did make a better pair to win the pot for fengikareh. With that, Grospelllier collected $16,432 plus $2,878.11 in bounties for 6th place.
Four hands later fengikareh put the big stack to work and collected another knockout bounty. After opening for 2.1M with A♠ 3♥, the Dutch player called iJzzOnUrHand’s 6M-chip all-in bet. iJzzOnUrHand stayed the favorite with K♣ K♥ from before the 7♠ 6♠ 9♠ flop all the way through the 2♦ turn, but the A♥ on the river made fengikareh the winner. With that, iJzzOnUrHand earned $21,488 plus $8,169.67 in bounties for 5th place.
The hits just kept coming for fengikareh, whose 71.4M-chip stack was three and a half times as large as second-place bustitoyoni’s and dwarfed the three- and four-big-blind stacks of the other two players. tinchoarce took a stand with 5♦ 5♠ and was the slim favorite against fengikareh’s J♦ 8♣, but the 7♣ 10♦ 2♦ J♥ K♣ board gave the big stack a pair of jacks to send tinchoarce packing with $28,566.40 plus $8,186.08 in bounties for 4th place.
fengikareh’s wrecking-ball run finallly came to an end a few hands later. First Strz survived with Q♥ 9♥ two hands later against fengikareh’s Q♣ 7♥ to avoid a similar fate. Then bustitoyoni found a way to claw back some of the lost chips from their previous confrontation, calling all-in with A♦ Q♣ after raising and being re-raised by fengikareh, who held A♣ 4♥. The queen on the flop of the Q♥ 5♦ 6♠ J♠ 5♠ board was enough to give bustitoyoni the double to 33.2M chips.
bustitoyoni immediately put those winnings to work by trying to take out Strz, calling with K♣ J♣ in the big blind after Strz jammed with A♥ 2♣ on the button. Neither player improved, though, and Strz pulled within 500K of bustitoyoni.
Nine hands later those two would tangle again, but this time Strz took the worst of it. The player from Finland opened all-in for 16.1M with K♣ 10♣, only to have bustitoyoni call with A♣ A♦. With no help on the 3♥ 4♠ 6♥ 5♠ 6♦ board, Strz collected $41,712 plus $3,949.19 in bounties for 3rd place.
One more turnaround
That win brought bustitoyoni’s stack to within eight big blinds of fengikareh’s, so the two players agreed to take a look at numbers for possible deal, but within 12 minutes they were back at it, bustitoyoni unwilling to give up any value beyond ICM. From there, the path to the “treetop” victory ended up being quite short.
The first of three key pots went to bustitoyoni after three-betting in the big blind and leading for 5.8M into a 14.8M-chip pot when the flop came Q♥ Q♣ 6♣. fengikareh folded there, and bustitoyoni was now the one enjoying a 55M-to-45M chip lead.
Eight hands later, bustitoyoni opened the second key pot with a raise to 2.6M on the button. fengikareh called in the big blind, and both players checked the 3♠ A♣ 5♦ flop. fengikareh bet 3.2M into the 5.5M-chip pot on the 8♥ turn, and then another 8.2M on the 10♠ river after bustitoyoni made the turn call. This time bustitoyoni moved all-in for 50M, and fengikareh folded, still holding on to 30.2M chips.
Just two hands after that, fengikareh was in good position to retake the lead. The player from the U.K. re-raised in the big blind with A♥ 10♦ and then called all-in when bustitoyoni shoved holding K♥ 7♠. But that 64.9-percent favorite turned into a 13.4-percent underdog on the K♣ 5♥ 6♦ flop, and when the turn and river came 10♠–J♦ the kings brought the tournament to its conclusion.
fengikareh might have finished in second place, but that extraordinary run of knockouts at the final table earned the Dutch player the largest bounty score of the tournament at $18,679.06. Along with the $58,902.40 prize as runner-up, that’s an impressive haul for two days’ work.
As for bustitoyoni, who earned two bounties on that final hand, the final tally for knockouts came to $13,439.11, the second-largest of the tourney behind fengikareh, plus a champion’s watch and $79,320.67 for the win. That’s quite a turnaround for somebody who had collected just $662.50 in bounties coming into Day 2 and had the shortest stack as the final table commenced. Congratulations to the champ on a highly memorable run!
SCOOP-02-M ($215 NL Hold’em, Progressive Super KO, Sunday Warm-Up SE) results
Total prize pool: $1,011,200 ($505,600 regular prize pool, $505,600 bounty prize pool)
Places paid: 675
1. bustitoyoni (United Kingdom) $79,320.67 + $13,439.11 in bounties
2. fengikareh (Netherlands) $58,902.40 + $18,679.06 in bounties
3. Strz (Finland) $41,712 + $3,949.19 in bounties
4. tinchoarce (Argentina) $28,566.40 + $8,186.08 in bounties
5. iJzzOnUrHand (Lithuania) $21,488 + $8,169.67 in bounties
6. Grospelllier (Hungary) $16,432 + $2,878.11 in bounties
7. iveydoagrest (Brazil) $11,376 + $2,946.86 in bounties
8. k@sten161 (Germany) $6,320 + $6,951.51 in bounties
9. AJFC6819 (United Kingdom) $4,044.80 + $1,412.89 in bounties
Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.