Playing for your part of over $1.3 million dollar prize pool is not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, really. It’s not even a bad way to spend a Sunday night. And frankly, it’s a decent way to spend a Monday morning, too. And that’s a good thing, because by the time the final table kicked off in the SCOOP Event #37M – No Limit Hold’Em, the remaining nine players had been going at it for 17 hours! And that wasn’t the end of the road, either. To get to the $205,000 top prize (the result of a heads up deal), Shuriken555 had to survive not only a grueling final table but also a raucous back-and-forth heads up match at the end of 20-hour tournament!
A whopping 6,827 players turned out for the event, building a prize pool of $1,365,400. Not bad for a tournament with a guarantee of $750K! The shot at SCOOP glory (and bucketfuls of cash) brought out the Team PokerStars Pros in droves. In the field for this event were big stars like Jason Mercier, Vanessa Rousso, Gavin Griffin, Noah Boeken, Bertrand Grospellier, Hevad Khan, Chris Moneymaker, Vicky Coren, and Chad Brown. And those are just the superstars who weren’t lucky enough to make the money!
Plenty of Team PokerStars Pros and Team PokerStars Online Pros cashed in the event, with Lex “RaSZi” Veldhuis going deepest at 35th. Veldhuis picked up $2,594.26 and the title of Last PokerStars Pro Standing for his efforts. Other Team PokerStars Pros finishes included Grayson “spacegravy” Physioc (49th, $2,389.45),Nichoel “NicP” Peppe (115th, $1,228.86), Ivan Demidov (194th, $764.62), Alexandre “Allingomes” Gomes (212th, $737.31), 2009 SCOOP Main Event Champ Jude “j.thaddeus” Ainsworth (265th, $655.39), and Christophe “chrisdm” De Meulder (487th, $477.89).
But as always, the real money was at the final table, and after the better part of a day’s work, the final nine was settled. The chip counts looked like this as the weary combatants settled in for one last battle –
Mpiyavv – 13,904,854
shuriken555 – 12,588,660
Had to be – 12,473,018
norcalsurf83 – 9,225,000
VanBabe – 5,465,912
nofingclue11 – 5,320,484
mikeyKay – 5,019,866
tiki2431 – 2,724,712
sanyakms – 1,547,494
It took a few orbits of dodging and weaving before the first elimination, but all the players were able to do that thanks to the deep structure. Finally, VanBabe and tiki2431 both found hands to go to war with, and the battle looked a little like this – VanBabe raised preflop from early position with 9♠–9♥. Tiki2431 re-raised with A♥–Q♥, and VanBabe pushed all in over the top. After a moment’s thought, tiki made the call, and the race was on! It was over almost before it began as VanBabe picked up a set on the 3♦–9♣–J♥ flop. Tiki was looking for runners to stay alive, but the 2♠ on the turn ended those hopes. The river was an almost insulting A♦, and tiki2431 was done in 9th place ($10,650.12).
SuperNova sanyakms was the next to fall, busting in 8th place ($17,067.50) at the hands of fellow SuperNova Mpiyavv. Sanyakms moved his short stack all in preflop with A♦–J♥ and found one caller in Mpiyavv, who tabled 6♠–6♣. Once again the race was short-lived as Mpiyavv flopped a set on the 6♥–Q♣–2♣ board. The 9♠ meant that sanyakms was drawing dead, and when the river brought the 7♣, there were seven survivors.
You know, some days are made for racing, and some days, it’s just not meant to be. In the early stages of this final table, it just wasn’t meant to be. Our 7th-place finisher went much the same way as the two who busted before him – he lost a race. Shuriken555 did what big stacks do at final tables – he raised preflop. Norcalsurf83 did what medium stacks do in late position when they find A♠–K♣ – he moved all in over the top. Shuriken555 called with 8♦–8♣, and those watching on the rail knew from past experience that it was all over. Sure enough, just like in the previous two bustouts, the pocket pair held up on a board of 2♦–3♥–4♥–9♠–10♦, and norcalsurf83 was done in 7th place with $30,038.80 to lull him to a well-deserved sleep.
Shuriken555 put on a clinic in aggression when the tournament got down to six-handed, raising with impunity most orbits. By the time the next elimination occurred, he had built a massive stack, and then added all of Mpiyavv’s chips to his stack. Mpiyavv raised preflop from middle position with 6♥–6♠, and shuriken555 re-raised with 9♠–9♣. Mpiyavv moved all in, and shuriken quickly called. The flop helped neither player, as it came down A♦–10♦–3♠, but the 9♦ on the turn sealed Mpiyavv’s fate. The river was an irrelevant 5♦, and Mpiyavv was done in 6th place $43,692.80.
The action started to pick up as the blinds, and the sun, began to rise. It was on the very next hand that VanBabe rode off into the sunrise. Had to be opened for a raise from under the gun, and VanBabe moved all in over the top. Action folded back around to Had to be, who made the call. VanBabe had A♠–K♠, but was up against one of two hands that had a significant edge – K♦–K♣. The board came down an aceless 6♣–2♥–10♠–Q♥–7♠, and VanBabe picked up $57,346.80 for 5th place.
With four players left, the players paused for a brief discussion of a chop. After a brief chat, no agreement was reached, and play continued. Play continued four-handed, with the three underdogs chipping away at the massive stack shuriken555 had built until he reclaimed it all in one big pot that sent mikeyKay to the rail in 4th place. MikeyKay opened for a raise from under the gun, and shuriken three-bet from the small blind. Mikey moved all in over the top with A♥–J♣, and shuriken called with 9♣–9♠. As we saw all morning long at this final table, pocket pairs were holding up in elimination hands, and this time was no different. The board ran out 7♦–Q♣–3♦–4♣–5♦, and Mikey went to breakfast with $76,667.21 added to his bankroll.
The three survivors took a moment to look at numbers once again, and once again there was no agreement, so play resumed. It only took a few hands for the short-stacked nofingclue11 to double up, then bust out in the cruelest fashion at the hands of mega-stacked shuriken555. It happened like this –
And with that, nofingclue11 was done in 3rd place for $110,597.40, and the tournament was heads up. Had to be and shuriken555 settled on a deal that paid out $190,000 to shuriken and $163,660.79 to Had to be with $15,000 left in the middle for the eventual winner. With the deal in place, both players had made their biggest score ever, and play resumed for the final time to see who would take home the bragging rights and the extra $15K.
You would think a heads up match where one player held such a commanding chip lead going in wouldn’t be very exciting, right? WRONG! The lead changes were as fast and furious as a NASCAR race, with Had to be coming from behind to double through, then shuriken retaking the lead, then Had to be coming on strong from the outside, then they were down the stretch and it came down to monster draw versus monster cards and it all ended up looking something like this –
It was a long journey, but to the last two standing, it was certainly worth the climb. Congratulations to Had to be, our champion Shuriken555 and everyone who cashed in SCOOP 37-Medium!