Second chances can be rare in this life, but in SCOOP they seem to come about a little more often than normal. The two players who ended up taking each other on in the heads-up finale of this event were both looking to improve on their performances at past SCOOP final tables. Only one could claim the win, but both would earn their biggest PokerStars scores yet.
The early going
Day 1 of this event saw a field of 840 players turn up, building a $1,680,000 prize pool that crushed the $750K guarantee and setting up a top prize of $298,200. They played 20 levels on the first day and as it drew to a close these players were leading the field of 41:
Fiskin1 (United Kingdom) 510,550 chips
raidalot (United Kingdom) 449,174 chips
Big_nat123 (Canada) 415,279 chips
SiiliSuhonen (Finland) 363,713 chips
eisenhower1 (Sweden) 358,067 chips
Day 2 began at 11:00am ET on Level 21 (1.5K/3K/375). With one SCOOP win this year and another SCOOP final table appearance, Fiskin1 certainly had the track record to suggest that a solid Day 1 performance could lead to another deep run. So did the rest of the top five, including former SCOOP winners raidalot and Big_Nat123, former Sunday Warm-Up and WCOOP event runner-up SiiliSuhonen, and former Sunday Warm-Up winner eisenhower1. In the end only Fiskin1 would survive to see the final table, though Big_nat123 came close with a 9th-place finish ($33,600).
Besides those players, other notables in the money on Day 2 included Brandon “oncommand” Meyers (13th, $14,952), William “Altrum Altus” Reynolds (17th, $14,952), Randal “RandALLin” Flowers (20th, $11,592), Stephen “stevie444” Chidwick (40th, $6,888), and Chris “Moorman1” Moorman (41st, $6,888).
834 down, 5 to go
With all of those players on the rail, the final table kicked off at 4:04pm ET with blinds at 8K/16K and these six players in contention:
Seat 1: 7tHEcROw7 (392,959 in chips)
Seat 2: mindgamer (1,282,564 in chips)
Seat 3: RomeOpro (1,233,034 in chips)
Seat 4: Turko_man (340,277 in chips)
Seat 5: Fiskin1 (3,337,581 in chips)
Seat 6: Mike “SirWatts” Watson (1,813,585 in chips)
It didn’t take long to see some big action. RomeOpro won the first pot, worth 770K chips, when K♥ Q♣ was good on a 9♣ K♠ 3♣ 9♠ 4♥ board against both Fiskin1 and WPT Bellagio Cup IV champion Mike “SirWatts” Watson. Three hands later 7tHEcROw7 got all-in for 386K before the flop with 10♣ 10♠, which held up against SirWatts’ 6♣ 6♥. And two hands after that 7tHEcROw7 would chip up once again, taking out the table short stack in another preflop, pair-over-pair situation. Turko_man‘s 10♥ 10♦ couldn’t top 7tHEcROw7’s J♣ J♥, making the Spanish player the tournament’s 6th place finisher ($50,400).
Deep stacks, strong play
The quickness of the first exit wasn’t duplicated for the next one. All five remaining players had at least 1.1M chips in play (good for 72 big blinds at 8K/16K) and settled into a comfortable rhythm of aggressive, post-flop poker. Only once the blinds had gone up to 10K/20K did another all-in confrontation occur, one which saw Austria’s mindgamer double through Fiskin1 with 9♣ 9♥ against 2♦ 2♥. That 1.42M-chip pot – the largest of the tournament so far by 400K – kept the Austrian player in the mix and flattened out the chip counts a bit. While Fiskin1’s stack was still worth 150 big blinds, it no longer had every other player at the table covered.
An hour of play would go by in the same manner before the next elimination. With the blinds at 15K/30K, Ukraine’s RomeOpro moved all-in for 559K from the cutoff. SirWatts isolated with an all-in move and turned up A♥ 10♥, which was ahead of the Ukrainian’s K♣ Q♣. The 8♣ A♦ 6♠ flop gave Watson an even bigger advantage, and the A♣ turn and 5♥ river made RomeOpro’s exit official in 5th place ($84,000).
That 1.16M-chip pot gave Watson a total stack of 3.06M, good for the lead ahead of mindgamer (2.87M), Fiskin1 (1.48M), and 7tHEcROw7 (972K). The four briefly talked about making a deal but once the chip-chop numbers came in they quickly scrapped the idea and opted to keep playing. For nearly an hour they continued to joust with one another without anyone risking their tournament life, watching the blinds move up to 17.5K/35K before 7tHEcROw7 survived with A♥ Q♦ against Fiskin1’s A♠ 10♥ for a 1.19M-chip pot. A few hands later mindgamer survived a similar situation, winning with A♦ K♠ to SirWatts’ A♠ J♣ for a pot worth 2.05M, but then doubled 7tHEcROw7 up to 2.19M with K♣ Q♥ against the former’s A♥ A♠.
It wasn’t until the blinds had risen to 20K/40K with a 5K ante that the next player would be sent to the rail. The hand started with the action folding to Fiskin1, who put in a raise to 110K from the small blind. SirWatts made the call in the big blind to see a flop of A♠ 7♠ 8♣. Fiskin1 led out for a half-pot bet of 120K and Watson called; on the K♣ turn, Fiskin1 bet 280K and Watson again called. The river card was the 6♠ and after dipping into the time bank Fiskin1 chose to move all-in for 845K into the 1.04M-chip pot. Watson didn’t waste much time calling with 10♣ 9♣ for the rivered ten-high straight, which was good against Fiskin1’s 2♦ 2♥. With that, Fiskin1 busted in 4th place ($117,600).
With 4.35M chips to 7tHEcROw7’s 2.37M and mindgamer’s 1.66M, Watson now looked a good value for a win. After 15 minutes of continuing to chip up at his opponents’ expense he found himself in a position to knock out both of them at once in this three-way pot, the largest of the entire tournament:
Any ace, queen, or spade on the turn or river would have given Watson the victory without having to playheads-up. Instead mindgamer became the 3rd-place finisher ($168,000) and 7tHEcROw7 won a 5.34M-chip pot to seize the lead as the final duel began.
Two players, one title
Both of the remaining players were seeking their first SCOOP titles after previously having come up short. SirWatts had finished in 2nd place twice before, two weeks ago in Event 9-H and back in 2010’s Event 34-M, and took 5th in this year’s Event 25-H. His opponent, 7tHEcROw7, had finished 6th in last year’s Event 37-M. It was a golden opportunity for both players.
On just the second hand of heads-up play, 7tHEcROw7 extended the chip lead. Two-thirds of Watson’s stack made its way to the UK player after 7tHEcROw7 led on the flop and turn but checked the river on a board of K♦ 3♠ 5♠ Q♥ 2♥; Watson fired off a 1.02M-chip bluff holding 9♠ 6♠, but 7tHEcROw7’s call with K♥ 10♣ was good for the 4.08M-chip pot.
That left Watson with just 969K, or 24 big blinds, which was more than enough for the Canadian pro to put up a fight. He managed to double up a few hands later with 3♣ 3♠ against A♦ J♠ and climb back up to 2.39M, and he would chip up a little further to 2.56M after a few blind steals. But as it turned out, that would be as close as he got to winning over the course of the 41-hand match. 7tHEcROw7 began to chip back up once the blinds went up to 25K/50K, winning just over half of the pots and regularly claiming the larger ones until Watson was holding 1.43M of the 8.4M chips in play. That was when the final hand came about:
After three and a half hours of final table play, the tournament was complete. Mike “SirWatts” Watson won $220,920 for his second runner-up finish of this SCOOP series, his biggest score ever in a PokerStars tournament. 7tHEcROw7, meanwhile, grabbed $298,200 for the win, topping a previous career-best score by nearly $270,000. Not bad for a player who made the final table as one of the short stacks!
SCOOP Event 39-H: $2,100 NLHE (6-max)
840 entrants, $1,680,000 prize pool
96 places paid
1st place: 7tHEcROw7 (United Kingdom) $298,200
2nd place: Mike “SirWatts” Watson (Canada) $220,920
3rd place: mindgamer (Austria) $168,000
4th place: Fiskin1 (United Kingdom) $117,600
5th place: RomeOpro (Ukraine) $84,000
6th place: Turko_man (Spain) $50,400
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