It has all been leading to this. The big one. After two weeks of round-the-clock poker, the 2010 Spring Championship of Online Poker kicked off its two-day Main Event on Sunday afternoon.
As was the case last spring, this year’s SCOOP Main Event came with a $5 million guarantee. In 2009, 502 players joined the fray, meaning the guarantee was just barely met. This time around saw 615 runners come out for the $10,000+$300 event, creating a huge $6,150,000 prize pool. The top 72 finishers would get paid, with the first ones out earning just under twice their investment ($20,295). The big money, of course, would go to those making the final table, where even eighth place means a six-figure score, and the first-place finisher stands to earn a handsome $1,162,350.
The plan for Day 1 was to play 22 one-half hour levels. With the breaks that would amount to more than 12 hours of action. Here are highlights from the day:
After one hour of play, a few had already hit the rail before the registration period had officially closed, among them Team PokerStars Pro Anton Allemann, James “Andy McLEOD” Obst, and Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin. Other early knockouts among Team PokerStars included Thomas Bichon, Victor Ramdin, Johannes Steindl, Arnaud “frenchkiss” Mattern, and Alex Kravchenko, all of whom were among the first 100 players to hit the rail.
Another PokerStars pro, Jude “j.thaddeus” Ainsworth, won this event last year, earning a cool $963,338 — and, eventually, a spot on the PS roster — for his efforts. Ainsworth was seated at his teammate William Thorson’s table at the start of this one, and the pair got involved in a hand early on.
After Ainsworth had opened with a raise to 200 from middle position, table folded to Thorson who reraised to 640 from the big blind. Ainsworth then made it 1,899 total, and Thorson called. The flop came 5♠7♥4♥. Thorson checked, Ainsworth bet 2,789, and Thorson called. Both then checked the 10♥ turn as well as the 8♦ river. Thorson showed pocket jacks, and Ainsworth mucked.
Thorson was able to add a few more chips to his stack, and was flirting with the top ten by the two-hour break. His fortune turned, however, and Thorson was knocked out in 440th place by KGBkaka in a hand in which Thorson got it all in with A-K versus KGBkaka’s A-J, but a jack flopped. Other PS members Johannes Strassman, Sandra Naujoks, and Randy “nanonoko” Lew next punched out, and Ainsworth, too, followed them to the rail shortly thereafter, busting in 395th.
The leaderboard saw a few familiar names come and go during those first four hours, including Brian “tsarrast” Rast, Dustin “neverwin” Woolf, and Matt “Hoss_TBF” Hawrilenko. Chris “Money800” Moneymaker also snuck onto the first page for a time, hovering just below the top 20, though he’d eventually fall in 226th.
At the four-hour mark, KGBkaka (slayer of William Thorson) had catapulted into the chip lead, with Team PokerStars pro Jason Mercier — who always seems to be on the leaderboard — right behind him in second place. And Mercier’s teammate, Grayson “spacegravy” Physioc was up there, too, in fifth place.
Both Mercier and Physioc were involved in hands during the fifth hour of play in which both flopped sets. However, one hand went well for the Team PokerStars member, while the other wasn’t quite as good.
At Mercier’s table, RaiseOnce opened from middle position with a 3x raise to 750, Mercier called behind him, then Sage Phantom pushed all in for 5,741 from the big blind. Mercier called with 6♦6♠ against Sage Phantom’s A♦Q♣. A six flopped, Mercier’s hand held up, and he was up over 75,000 chips and in first place.
Meanwhile, over on Physioc’s table he opened with a raise and was called by PokerNoob999. The flop came K♥3♦J♥, and after some back-and-forthing all of PokerNoob999’s nearly 20,000 chips were in the middle. Physioc had J♦J♠ for a set of jacks, but PokerNoob999 held K♦K♣ for the better set. The one-outer didn’t come for spacegravy, and he’d tumbled back down to an average stack before eventually falling in 232nd.
After six hours into play they were down to 210, with delaney_kid in front and Mercier still right there in second. Other familiar names near the top included Sam “KingKobeMVP” Stein (sixth), poker 1O1 (seventh), Str8$$$Homey (11th), Jordon “iMsoLucky0” Morgan (21st), and Andrew “RunThisTable” Lichtenberger (22nd).
By the seven-hour mark, 170 players remained, with YrrsiNN having moved out in front with more than 120,000 chips, followed by BradL, N00000ooooo, giRL90ihqdaa, and Mercier. Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu of Team PokerStars had moved into the top 50 with a stack hovering just below 50,000 (the average being 36,176). Other of Negreanu’s teammates still alive but with below average stacks included Dennis Phillips, Angel Guillen, Martin “AABenjaminAA” Hruby, Anh Van Nguyen, and Humberto Brenes.
Soon Guillen would vault into the top 20, thanks to a timely double-up through Vingtcent. All in before the flop with pocket jacks against Vingtcent’s A♠K♦, an ace flopped, but a jack did, too, and Guillen was suddenly up over 84,000 and on the first page of the leaderboard.
Just before the eight-hour break, there were 130 players left as the tourney moved through Level 14 (400/800/100). Daniel Negreanu had slipped a bit to 34,645 when he opened with a minimum-raise to 1,600 from middle position and got two callers, giRL90ihqdaa (small blind, with 81K to start the hand) and HundoFight (big blind, with 75K). The flop came K♦A♦J♣. The blinds both checked, Negreanu continued for 3,200, and only HundoFight called. The turn was the 4♥. HundoFight again checked, KidPoker bet 5,600 this time, and HundoFight again made the call.
The river was the 8♣. HundoFight checked once more, and Negreanu shoved all in for 24,145. HundoFight contemplated a bit, then made the call, showing A♣Q♥ for aces. Negreanu held 8♠7♠ for eights, and was out in 130th place.
Also busting just prior to the eight-hour break were both Martin “AABenjaminAA” Hruby (128th) and Humberto Brenes (127th). As the remaining 126 players took five, YrrsiNN was still on top and Mercier in second.
An hour later they were down to 97 players. BradL had taken over the chip lead with more than 228,000, followed by delaney_kid, ofishstix, PKaiser, and Improved. Mercier had slipped to 15th, while Angel Guillen was sitting in 49th, Dennis Phillips in 74th, and Anh Van Nguyen in 85th.
Soon after the break, Van Nguyen was down to 24,676 when dontriverme raised almost 3x to 3,500 and Van Nguyen called from the button. The flop came J♣9♠10♠. dontriverme bet 22,222, enough to put Van Nguyen all in, and Van Nguyen made the call. dontriverme showed A♠Q♠ for flush and straight draws while Van Nguyen held a precarious K♠K♣. The turn came the 8♠, giving dontriverme the flush and making the Q♦ on the end inconsequential. Van Nguyen was out shy of the money in 91st.
Soon the field shrunk below 80 players, and as the money bubble approached, some began applying pressure. An interesting hand took place on one of the tables involving three players with above-average stacks — the last hand before the ten-hour break.
With the blinds 700/1,400, Fred_Brink (with 115,444) raised to 3,500 from early position, then PKaiser (with 191,555) called from the hijack seat. It folded to wallstreetpr (with 136,028) in the big blind who then reraised to 15,600. Fred_Brink folded, then PKaiser surprisingly popped it up to 36,333.
“wow this is sick,” typed wallstreetpr as he decided what to do. Finally, he chose to let it go, typing “nh sicko” as he did. PKaiser showed his cards — 9♥J♣ — giving the table something to ponder for the next five minutes.
When play resumed, BradL remained in first, followed by delaney_kid and ubon1, with Mercier and Guillen both nearly even just outside the top 20. The only other PS pro remaining, Dennis Phillips, had been essentially in last place ever since the field had gotten down to 80, and he continued to hang on as more players fell — in 73rd of 73 remaining as the tourney went hand-for-hand.
A dramatic moment ensued for Phillips. After Thilde_123 opened with a raise to 4,200 from the hijack, Phillips took about a half-minute on the button before shoving with his last 15,931. The blinds got out, and after thinking himself for thirty seconds or so, Thilde_123 (who had about 55,000) made the call with 8♥7♥. Phillips showed J♥J♣.
The flop came 10♦5♥J♠, giving Phillips a set but Thilde_123 a gutshot. Then the Q♥ on the turn gave Thilde_123 a flush draw as well. But the J♦ came on the river, giving Phillips quads and renewed life.
Meanwhile at another table — on the same hand — poker1O1 had committed all of his chips following a 4♠5♥6♣ flop with Q♣Q♠ and looked to be in good shape versus toweliestar’s J♠J♦. The turn was the A♣, but the river brought the J♥, giving toweliestar a set and making poker1O1 the last player out before the money.
As expected, eliminations came quickly once the money had been reached. The first nine to go each earned $20,295: tjbentham (72nd), BillChapel (71st), philbort (70th), dontriverme (69th), hellzito (68th), Elias122 (67th), caio_pimenta (66th), leoc00 (65th), and Thilde_123 (64th).
They were followed by joaobarb (63rd), Steve “MrSmokey1” Billirakis (62nd), bad_beat_bud (61st), Believer82 (60th), DareYouCall (59th), Improved (58th), devinr12 (57th), and Eric “sheets” Haber (56th), each of whom earned $21,525. And finally Dennis Phillips would again get all of his chips in with A♥4♥ against HundoFight’s K♥4♠, but a king flopped, sending Phillips out in 55th place (also $21,525).
Next to go were Andrew “RunThisTable” Lichtenberger (54th), TMoney0209 (53rd), tmmy2win (52nd), wallstreetpr (51st), Str8$$$Homey (50th), fouruhaters (49th), nutsinho (48th), and MiniTilt (47th), all pocketing $24,600. As the tourney crossed the 11-and-a-half hour mark, a short-stacked N00000ooooo was all in before the flop with 9♠9♣ against cpfactor’s A♥10♦. N00000ooooo likely said his name when the flop came 7♦5♣10♠, then probably said it again after the A♣ turn. The river was the 2♥, and N00000ooooo was gone in 46th (also $24,600).
With 45 left, delaney_kid was pushing out ahead of the pack with more than 450,000, followed by siola (320K), toetagU (287K), BradL (265K), and AJinOK (252K). Next to fall were WhooooKidd (45th), supernova9 (44th), Ben “Ben86” Tollerene (43rd), greenrizla (42nd), and Mr Zahmat (41st), all of whom got $27,675 for their work today.
In the last hand before the final break of the night, the blinds were 1,500/3,000 (375 ante) when Jason Mercier (with 129,375 to start the hand) opened for 6,097 from middle position, and KGBkaka (with 121,330 to start) reraised to 15,194 behind him. The table folded back to Mercier who shoved all in, and KGBkaka made the call.
Mercier obviously didn’t like seeing that, as he tabled 2♦2♥. He was surprised as well when KGBkaka showed 7♥7♠. The board went J♠3♠6♦8♣A♥, and Mercier was down to just a little over 8,000, muttering a bit in the chatbox during ensuing five-minute respite.
The first hand back from the break saw YrrsiNN go out in 40th ($27,675). Then Mercier called a raise from romashka55, committing the last of his chips with K♠6♠ against romashka55’s 10♦10♥. The flop came 4♠Q♠A♥, giving Mercier a flush draw. The K♦ then gave him the lead, but the J♥ took it away, giving romashka55 a Broadway straight and sending Mercier out in 39th ($27,675).
Next out were Fabahaba (38th) and PKaiser (37th), also earning $27,675. Then Level 22 arrived — the last of the night — which began with the eliminations of gretko (36th), PUCIPUCO (35th), HundoFight (34th), myzikant (33rd), #1PEN (32nd), and Assassinato (31st), each of whom took home $30,750.
With 15 minutes of play remaining, Angel Guillen was all in with A♦Q♥ against Dustin “neverwin” Woolf” who had Guillen barely covered and held 10♦10♣. The flop came 4♥8♠4♦, but the turn and river were both queens, moving Guillen back to the middle of the pack and crippling Woolf.
Guillen would eventually end the night in 20th place. Meanwhile, neverwin would survive a couple of all-ins, but not the third and was ousted in 30th place ($30,750). In the last hands of the night, All_in_at420 went out in 29th and giRL90ihqdaa in 28th (both $30,750).
Here’s how the leaderboard looked at the end of the first day of play:
SCOOP Event #38-H (Main Event) Day 1 Chip Leaders:
1. DuckU — 607,196
2. AJinOK — 539,241
3. siola — 407,169
4. toweliestar — 345.147
5. BongBob — 326,212
6. delaney_kid — 315,166
7. KGBkaka — 309,580
8. toetagU — 303,100
9. ubon1 — 274,704
10. BradL — 271,727
Play will resume at 17:00 ET on Monday. Be sure to come back here to the PokerStars blog shortly after that, as we’ll be live blogging the final table. And for all the results from this year’s series, check out the SCOOP site.