It’s about time to start the second big weekend of the 2016 Spring Championship of Online Poker and Event 15 threw a little twist at the standard No Limit Hold’em tournament structure. The Ante Up events left the blinds alone, instead ramping up the antes with each level change. A unique format that saw Antonio “jonwayne69” Gonzalez outlast the rest of the field to earn top honors.
The high version of the tournament had a $700 buy-in with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. Players had three additional re-entry options for the first five hours and they combined to create a huge field. There were 429 players putting up their money and 202 re-entries when registration closed, pushing the prize pool up to $419,615 with the last 72 earning a piece.
The very nature of the Ante Up tournament meant there was no pressure from the blinds and only a mild nudge as the antes increased. Pots were smaller, pre-flop strategies were tweaked, and players could wait longer before getting themselves in trouble. That meant it took longer to reach the money bubble than one would expect in a regular tournament.
They hit the money after nine hours of play, a lifetime in the online poker world, and it was 2013 SCOOP $10,000 Main Event final table member Sergio “zcedrick” Aido going out on the stone-cold bubble. Once the field was in the money, Aido was quickly followed by Mike “SirWatts” Waston, Nick “FU_15” Maimone, Connor “blanconegro” Drinan, TJ “1BigAceHole” Ulmer, and Triple COOPer Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira among others.
When the tournament paused for the evening, there were still 58 players remaining including Team PokerStars’ Andre Akkari returning to a top 20 stack. Artem “veeea” Vezhenkov was the front-runner at the restart looking to add to an already impressive list of credits; three Super Tuesdays wins, one Sunday Million victory, and one SCOOP title.
More than seven hours after the restart, they were down to one final table after Vezhenkov ran his 4♣4♥ into Zaichenko’s A♥A♦. They joined as one with a very talented group that included Shaun Deeb making his second final table of the day and going for his ninth total COOP title.
Poker pro Tim “WICKED617” Reilly took his seat at the table along with Akkari representing Team PokerStars and Brazil. Joao Bauer holds a WCOOP title from 2010 and Thomas “WushuTM” Muhlocker picked up a SCOOP victory of his own in the $1,050 Super Tuesday Special Edition.
Seat 1: Andre “aakkari” Akkari (27,9202 in chips)
Seat 2: Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (855,454 in chips)
Seat 3: Antonio “jonwayne69” Gonzalez (542,221 in chips)
Seat 4: Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (988,724 in chips)
Seat 5: Tim “WICKED617” Reilly (311,730 in chips)
Seat 6: zhancheng888 (648,651 in chips)
Seat 7: Joao Bauer (1,075,370 in chips)
Seat 8: Thomas “WushuTM” Muhlocker (1,127,355 in chips)
Seat 9: deadfizh (481,293 in chips)
Blinds: 5/5 with 6,000 Ante
Deeb runs into kings, eliminated in 9th
Shaun Deeb came into the final table with the third biggest stack and a chance to pick up his sixth SCOOP title. But things went wrong in a hurry to ruin his second final table of the day. Joao Bauer saw his stack count (temporarily) drop below Deeb’s before they each were dealt big hands.
Bauer four-bet shoved with K♠K♣ and Deeb called in trouble with A♦K♦. Deeb couldn’t find a way around the kings on the Q♦Q♥5♥10♣7♥ board and was left with only 67,000.
He put that small stack in with A♣5♣ and deadfizh looked him up with A♠10♥. Neither found a piece as it ran 9♣7♥2♦8♥A♥ to outkick the eight-time COOP champ out in 9th place.
deadfizh sent out Deeb but was still hanging around the bottom of the counts when his big slick was run down by a bad beat.
Double Super Tuesday winner Gonzalez began the action when he moved all-in with his short stack and deadfizh called at risk with A♠K♣. Gonzalez was dominated with K♥Q♥ but that changed on the K♦Q♠9♦ flop. deadfizh needed a miracle but it wasn’t meant to be on the 7♣ turn or 8♠ river to exit in 8th place.
Brazil on Brazil violence, Akkari eliminated in 7th
The Brazilians are having one heck of a series so far with Joao Bauer and WSOP champ Andre “akkari” Akkari adding to the legend today. Akkari sat back and watched two others players go out, biding his time until he found a hand to give him a double.
He took a stab with a three-bet shove after an open from Joao Bauer and got a quick call from his countryman with A♥A♣. Akkari needed a lot of help with 4♠4♦ then lost one of his precious outs on the J♣7♣3♣ flop. The 10♠ turn left Akkari looking out for the case four but was the next eliminated when the river came 2♥.
There was really no pressure from the non-existent blinds and slowly creeping antes, it was big hands that forced the action. Reilly and Muhlocker found two of them and chips were flying once more.
Muhlocker raised it up after two limpers, Andrey Zaichenko called next to act, and Reilly moved all-in from the big blind. Zaichenko let his hand go and the hands were tabled, Reilly was ahead with 10♣10♥ but racing against Muhlocker’s A♥Q♦.
It was a sprint instead of a marathon when Muhlocker connected immediately on the A♦9♣5♥ flop. Reilly was a long shot to stick around but nothing helped him on the 4♥ turn or 5♠ river.
Zaichenko chopped down, eliminated in 5th
Zaichenko lost a large part of his stack in the Reilly KO hand and was forced to take a shot soon afterwards. He moved all-in for his last 189,852 to get calls from zhancheng888 and Joao Bauer.
The two live players checked down the J♠3♣2♦Q♥9♥ board and Bauer tabled 6♣6♠. Both Zaichenko and zhancheng888 mucked their hands with Zaichenko leaving the final table in 5th place.
One of the biggest pots of the tournament was also one of the few not built pre-flop. Nearly 1.5 million ended up in the middle and began with a four-way limped pot to the J♦8♥8♠ flop.
Action checked around to Muhlocker and his 16,008 picked up one called in zhancheng888 to see the 5♣ turn. zhancheng888 check/raised all-in and Muhlocker called off his final 616,000 with the turned full boat 5♥5♠. zhancheng888’s flopped trip eights 8♣2♦ left Muhlocker with seven outs to dodge but the J♣ river did the damage to send him out in 4th place.
Three-handed play went on for nearly 90 minutes with no one taking a big lead, it was more swapping chips then a mass collecting of them. With that pace of play, zhancheng888 picked an interesting spot to get rammy with 10♥7♠.
The Chinese grinder opened from the big blind after the other two players limped and Gonzalez responded with a raise. Not believing the limp/raise play, zhancheng888 four-bet to 352,000 and Gonzalez put him all-in. 10♥7♠ still looked good and he called to see he was flipping against 2♣2♥.
The race didn’t last too long when Gonzalez flopped bottom set on the 10♠7♥2♠ board. zhancheng888 picked up a gutshot draw after the 9♥ turn but the Q♦ was no help to kick him out in 3rd place.
Seat 3: Antonio “jonwayne69” Gonzalez (3,803,951 in chips)
Seat 7: Joao Bauer (2,506,049 in chips)
Blinds: 5/5 with 14,000 Ante
Gonzalez beats top/top to win Event #15-H title
The two players were evenly matched, in both chips and experience, and battled for more than an hour. Neither professional gave in but Gonzalez slowly added to his lead against Bauer. The Brazilian Bauer was trying to pick up a tenth SCOOP title for his country but it wasn’t looking good.
He was down 700K to 5.5 million when he opened from the button to 18,955. Gonzalez called, they saw the K♣9♠3♥ flop, and Gonzalez checked. Bauer bet 24,390 to get a call from Gonzalez followed by another check after the 7♠ turn. This time, Bauer tossed in 146,488 and Gonzalez hit the call button before the 8♦ river.
Gonzalez went with another check and Bauer moved all-in for his last 534,857 holding top pair/top kicker A♦K♠. Generally a fine catch heads-up but he could only watch as Gonzalez tabled his turned two pair with K♥7♦ to take the hand, the match, and the title.
A tough way to lose and Bauer was unable to add a SCOOP title to his previous WCOOP win. Gonzalez earned his first COOP victory to go along with two big Super Tuesday victories, adding nearly $80,000 to his bankroll.
1. Antonio “jonwayne69” Gonzalez (United Kingdom) $79,307.50
2. Joao Bauer (Brazil) $58,116.67
3. zhancheng888 (China) $42,800.73
4. Thomas “WushuTM” Muhlocker (Austria) $32,310.35
5. Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (Russia) $22,659.21
6. Tim “WICKED617” Reilly (Netherlands) $17,833.63
7. Andre “akkari” Akkari (Brazil) $13,637.48
8. deadfizh (Finland) $9,441.33
9. Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (Mexico) $6,420.10