Another day, another final table for Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara. Persistence pays off, but would he finally break through to the other side?? Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara went on a Badugi heater two weekends ago when he final tabled two different buy-in Badugi events in the same day. He finished in third in both, sorta disappointing yet remarkable in the same breath. This past weekend, Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara made two more final tables and came narrowly close once again in Event #44-H HORSE. But that time, he was the bridesmaid and took second when he got edged out by Matthew ‘MUSTAFABET’ Ashton.
Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara advanced to another final table in Event #53-L Single Draw 2-7, and he leveraged what might have been his last final shot at a SCOOP bracelet. When heads-up began, nkeyno trailed nearly 3 to 1 in chips against the U.K.’s vixen1968. Unfortunately, nkeyno would not survive this collision. He had to settle on second place. Instead, vixen1968 stepped into the winner’s circle and was showered by praise, cash, and some new bling — a SCOOP bracelet and a champion’s watch by Movado.
Interesting side note: Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara made five final tables at the 2016 SCOOP and finished with a two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes for a total finish of 2-2-3-3-6. A run like that puts you near the top of the overall Leader Board, which is the primary reason nkeyno was in serious contention with Shaun Deeb for Player of the Series.
Day 1 of this two-day Deuce to Seven affair ended with exactly seven players (they played down to the final table) and Germany’s bamboocha88 held a commanding lead. Notables who cashed late on Day 1 included theNERDguy (9th), cal42866 (15th), raidalot (22nd), and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (40th).
SCOOP-53-L – Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: AtomTom87 (1,499,720)
Seat 2: UziStuNNa (1,048,897)
Seat 3: bamboocha88 (5,266,664)
Seat 4: vixen1968 (823,320)
Seat 5: SamyangRamen (438,168)
Seat 6: nkeyno (1,651,936)
Seat 7: Vichyn88 (3,411,295)
The final table commenced during Level 23 with blinds at 16K/32K. Germany’s bamboocha88 sat atop the big stack, while Sweden’s SamyangRamen was clinging to life with a 438K shorty.
Looks like we were going to give away a bracelet to a first-time winner. Several players had went deep in previous COOPs, including a few final table appearances at the 2016 SCOOP… Vichyn88 final tabled Event 38-L… atomtom87 final tabled 48-L…. bamboocha88 final tabled a 2012 SCOOP…. UziStuNNa final tabled a two 2015 SCOOPs including a second-place chop in one, not to mention a final table at the 2013 WCOOP.
Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara advanced to a handful of final tables over the last two weeks. He finished in 2-3-3-6 in those four final tables. Remarkable. That’s why he is in contention for SCOOP Player of the Series coming into today. On the overall SCOOP Leader Board, nkeyno started the day 8th overall trailing big dog Shaun Deeb, who had notched 810 points through Sunday night. In the HIGH end of the leader board, nkeyno was third overall trailing leader Vladimir “vovtroy” Troyanovski by 10 points (and trailing Jason Mercier in second by a mere five). However, this was a LOW event, so the points wouldn’t apply.
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FIGHT TEST: UziStuNNa eliminated in 7th place
15 hands. That’s how long it took before someone busted. It happened only 12 minutes into the final table too. nkeyno opened to 100,000, AtomTom87 raised to 215,000, UziStuNNa four-bet shoved for 1,211,267, nkeyno bailed, AtomTom87 called. Both players stood pat! At showdown 10-8 was no match against 8-7.
AtomTom87 won the pot with 8-7-6-3-2 low against UziStuNNa’s 10-9-6-5-2. Hungary’s UziStuNNa became the first player to bust at the final table. Seventh place paid out $604.71.
With six remaining, bamboocha88 led with 5.4M and nkeyno was 5/6 with 1.5M.
ARE YOU A HYPNOTIST: SamyangRamen eliminated in 6th place
Shortfall of the shorty. Vichyn88 raised to 88,000, AtomTom87 called, SamyangRamen moved all-in for 91,240, and both Vichyn88 and AtomTom87 called. SamyangRamen drew two, Vichyn88 drew a single card, whereas AtomTom87 stood pat. Both Vichyn88 and AtomTom87 checked the river. At showdown…
Vichyn88: MUCKED HAND
Vichyn88 mucked a losing hand, but AtomTom87 dragged the pot with a J-8-4-3-2 low versus SamyangRamen’s pair of Kings. Sweden’s SamyangRamen was dunzo in sixth place, which paid out $805.01.
With five to go, bamboocha88 held 5.8M and vixen1968 was the new shorty with 1M. nkeyno was 3/5 with 2.5M.
EGO TRIPPING AT THE GATES OF HELL: Vichyn88 eliminated in 5th place
Battle of the Vs… Vichyn88 vs. vixen1968. Vichyn88 opened shoved for 717,488, vixen1968 re-shoved for 1,384,976 an everyone bailed. vixen1968 stood pat, while Vichyn88 only discarded a single card. At showdown…
vixen1968 won the hand with a 9-7-5-3-2 low versus Vichyn88’s A-8-6-5-3 low. Vichyn88 was knocked out in fifth place, which paid out $1,073.69.
With four left in the hunt for the bracelet, bamboocha88 continued to lead with 5.2M, followed by a surging nkeyno (4.3M), vixen1968 (2.7M), and AtomTom87 (1.8M).
IT’S SUMMER TIME: AtomTom87 eliminated in 4th place
Four-handed did not last very long before we saw another dust up. nkeyno initiated the fracas with a raise to 150,000, AtomTom87 bombed it all-in for 608,742, bamboocha88 insta-called, but nkeyno folded. Although bamboocha88 stood pat, AtomTom87 drew a single card.
bamboocha88 won the pot with a 8-7-5-3-2 low against AtomTom87’s J-9-8-6-2 low. For a fourth-place finish, AtomTom87 earned $1,541.28.
With three remaining… bamboocha88 still held onto the top spot with 6.8M, followed by nkeyno’s 5M and vixen1968’s 2.2M.
YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS: bamboocha88 eliminated in 3rd place
vixen1968 opened to 240,000, bamboocha88 bombed it all-in for 1,575,672, and vixen1968 called. Both players discarded one. At showdown…
At showdown, bamboocha88 lost with a pair of deuces versus vixen1968’s J-7-5-3-2 low. Germany’s bamboocha88 was knocked out in third place, which paid out $2,446.96.
HEADS-UP: vixen1968 (U.K.) vs. nkeyno (Japan)
Seat 4: vixen1968 (10,614,680)
Seat 6: nkeyno (3,525,320)
Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara found himself heads-up for another bracelet. But could he finally do it? He had four other chances but whiffed each time. If he wanted to win this one, he’d have a mountain to climb because nkeyno trailed 3-1 when heads-up began.
Heads-up lasted 15 minutes. Small ball to start. nkeyno actually trimmed the deficit under 2-1 after winning a 1.2M pot with K-8-6-5-3 against vixen1968’s pair of sevens. Alas, that’s as close as nkeyno would get to threatening vixen1968’s lead. vixen regained any lost ground with a 1.4M pot with a J-7-5-4-2 before dragging another 1.4M pot with 10-8-7-3-2 against nkeyno’s pair of tens. nkeyno’s stack was cut down to 2.3M before a much-needed double up. nkeyno was all-in for his tournament life after standing pat with 10-9-8-5-3 against vixen1968’s pat J-7-5-4-2. nkeyno chipped up to 4.7M and looked like he was ready to launch a full-blown counterattack. However, in nine hands it would be all over.
Tough break for Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara. Going into the final hand, he had 4.5M to vixen1968’s 9.6M. Pre-draw… nkeyno four-bet shoved for 4,517,240 and vixen1968 called. vixen1968 stood pat. When it came time to draw cards nkeyno went into the tank and typed, “hmmmm…. JT pat?” With time ticking down like a tense moment in a Hollywood thriller when the hero has to defuse a dirty bomb. Then came the moment of reckoning: nkeyno decided to discard one. At showdown…
nkeyno lost the pot with J-10-5-4-2 low against vixen1968’s J-9-8-6-4. nkeyno’s instincts were right, he just didn’t get the luck of the draw. Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara had to settle for another runner-up finish, which is still impressive nonetheless. Second place paid out $3,574.81.
Congrats to the U.K.’s vixen1968 for winning Event #53-L. First place paid out $5,058.67 plus a cool champion’s watch courtesy of Movado.
SCOOP-53-L ($27 Single Draw 2-7) results
Entrants: 1,414 (1,058 entries, 356 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $34,713.70
Places paid: 189
1. vixen1968 (U.K.) $5,058.67
2. Team Online Naoya ‘nkeyno’ Kihara (Japan) $3,574.81
3. bamboocha88 (Germany) $2,446.96
4. AtomTom87 (Poland) $1,541.28
5. Vichyn88 (Sweden) $1,073.69
6. SamyangRamen (Sweden) $805.01
7. UziStuNNa (Hungary) $604.71
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Pauly McGuire is the author of “Lost Vegas” and a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.