In heads-up matches you cannot hide. You cannot take off a couple of hands, or sit out an orbit to walk off a tilt-inducing losing hand like you could do at a full ring table. Heads-up matches are laborious, nonstop confrontations and mentally taxing because you’re constantly on the defensive and plotting your own counter-attack. You do not win a heads-up tournament by pure luck and fortuitous cards from the poker gods. Rather, heads-up success requires acute mental toughness, the patience of a Zen monk, the hyper-analytical mind of a chess player, and the fearlessness of a bare-knuckle boxer. Russia’s KumariOy demonstrated all of those vital traits after besting a rigorous field in SCOOP Event #7-H.
2013 SCOOP Event #7-H $700 NL Heads-Up attracted 799 runners. They boosted the prize pool to $531,335 and only the top 128 players were paid out, with $80,354.20 set aside for the supreme heads-up champion.
Several familiar faces took a shot in this event including Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker, Joe Cada, Lex Veldhuis, Jake Cody, Nacho Barbero, Andre Akkari, Goerge Danzer, and Matthias De Meulder. A trio of Team PokerStars Online members — George “Jorj95” Lind III, Tatiana “Mysters_Y” Barausov and Randy “nanonoko” Lew — were also in the hunt for a SCOOP crown.
Team PokerStars Online George “Jorj95” Lind III was the only notable to secure himself a cash. He easily won his fourth round and defeated UH Big Tex to advance to the Round of 64.
In round 5, Lind and $kill Game grappled in one of the longest matches of the tournament during an exhilarating five-level engagement, which resembled a classic boxing match that would make even the most modest pugilist fan drool with envy. It was back and forth for the first four levels before Lind had $kill Game on the ropes for most of the fifth level. Lind finally finished off his opponent when $kill Game made a final stand with A♠4♠ against Lind’s K♠8♠. Alas, Lind turned a King and rivered a King to win the pot with trips. $kill Game busted in 37th place and Lind advanced to the Round of 32.
In round 6, Lind coasted to victory in an easy match and dispatched itSmin3z in less than two levels. On the final hand, Lind’s A♦J♠ held up against itSmin3z’s A♣8♣, and itSmin3z hit the road in 24th place. Lind stayed alive and advanced to the Sweet 16.
In round 7, Lind took on crissdepaiss in a quickie match. Lind took a devastating hit early on and lost most of his stack. Lind met his demise when his A♥9♣ was run down by crissdepaiss’ A♦5♠. The board finished up A♣J♠5♥7♣K♣, and crissdepaiss won with two pair — Aces and fives. George “Jorj95” Lind III was knocked out in 15th place, which paid out $7,661.85.
THE ELITE EIGHT
We got down to eight players. The loser in the Elite Eight matches locked up $14,239.77, while the winners moved on to the Final Four.
cgswh1t3 (Canada) vs. nochtm (Bulgaria)
KumariOy (Russia) vs. crissdepaiss (Canada)
Andrel87 (Sweden) vs. mtvdeuem (Slovenia)
kurakasa (Ireland) vs. vic1316 (U.K.)
mtvdeuem eliminated in 8th place
High-stakes grinder mtvdeuem hit the bricks in eighth place after he busted in the first level. On the flop was 7♥5♠4♣, mtvdeuem jammed all-in with J♣6♦ for open-ended straight draw and only Jack-high. Andrel87 check-called with A♠6♠ and was ahead with Ace-high and the same open-ended straight draw. The turn was the 9♦ and the river was the Q♣. Neither cards helped mtvdeuem. Andrel87 dragged the pot with Ace-high and advanced to the Final Four. Meanwhile, mtvdeuem was knocked out, but collected $14,239.77 for an eighth-place finish.
crissdepaiss eliminated in 7th place
Another quick match that barely lasted a complete level. KumariOy rivered a straight with 7♦6♦ and beat out crissdepaiss’s 10♦7♣ and a pair of tens. For seventh place, crissdepaiss earned $14,239.77. KumariOy moved onto the Final Four.
cgswh1t3 eliminated in 6th place
This match was decided in the third level, when cgswh1t3 took A♣7♣ into battle against nochtm A♥K♠. The board ran out J♥5♦9♦Q♠8♥ and nochtm’s Big Slick held up. nochtm advanced to the Final Four, meanwhile cgswh1t3 took home $14,239.77 for sixth place.
vic1316 eliminated in 5th place
This matched lasted the longest of the four and spilled into the fourth level. After an hour-long battle, kurakasa finally took out vic1316. On a flop of 10♥7♥4♠, vic1316 checked, kurakasa bet 300, vic1316 bumped it up to 700, kurakasa four-bet to 1,700, vic1316 five-bet to 3,800, kurakasa six-bet shoved for 5,760, and vic1316 called all-in. kurakasa tabled A♠A♣, which was way ahead of vic1316’s 10♦9♦ and a meager pair of tens. The turn was the K♣ and the river was 6♥. The U.K.’s vic1316 failed to improve and kurakasa’s Aces held up. For a fifth-place performance, vic1316 collected $14,239.77.
THE FINAL FOUR
The loser in the Final Four matches took home $25,562.52, while the two winners advanced to the finals.
Andrel87 (Sweden) vs. kurakasa (Ireland)
KumariOy (Russia) vs. nochtm (Bulgaria)
Andrel87 eliminated in 4th place
If you blinked, you might have missed this heads-up skirmish. Ireland’s kurakasa took a commanding lead from the get-go. Short-stacked Andrel87 moved it all-in preflop with Q♦J♥ against kurakasa’s A♥J♦. The flop was K♠Q♠8♥ and Andrel87 seized the lead with a pair of Queens, but kurakasa picked up a Broadway draw. The turn was the 10♣ and kurakasa filled in a straight. The river was the 6♠ and kurakasa won the pot to advance to the Finals. Sweden’s Andrel87 busted out in fourth place and won $25,562.52.
nochtm eliminated in 3rd place
Both Final Four matches went rather quick. In the opening levels, the longest match per level lasted in excess of 90 minutes or roughly six levels. This one barely lasted 16 minutes, when nochtm was knocked out during the second hand in Level II. Short-stacked nochtm made a final stand with A♦8♠ but got ambushed by KumariOy’s A♣K♠. The board ran out J♣5♠4♦6♣K♣. On the turn, nochtm picked up an open-ended straight draw, but failed to improve on the river. KumariOy rivered a King for a pair of Kings and dodged a bullet when nochtm failed to fill in a straight draw. KumariOy survived and moved onto the Finals. Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s nochtm busted in third place, which paid out $25,562.52.
HEADS-UP: kurakasa (Ireland) vs. KumariOy (Russia)
Both players started with stacks worth 5,000. The levels were 15 minutes in length. When the two were seated at the “Final Table,” the tournament had reached its 12th hour. Although both players easily won their Final Four matches, both were mentally exhausted after a a half of day of head-to-head jousting.
This final match lasted 19 hands. Yes, only 19 hands. The most crucial hand of the tournament occurred on the 9th hand when KumariOy won a 3.6K pot with trip nines holding 10♠9♣ against rakasa’s Q♦J♦. Although rakasa had rivered a pair of Jacks, it was not good enough because KumariOy flopped a pair of nines and turned trips. After dragging that decisive pot, KumariOy had jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Ten hands later, it would be all over.
rakasa eliminated in 2nd place; KumariOy Wins SCOOP Event #7-H
On the final hand… kurakasa opened to 125, KumariOy bumped it to 400, and kurakasa called. The flop was J♥9♣5♦. KumariOy bet 400 and kurakasa called. The turn was the 7♦. KumariOy only bet 100 and kurakasa called. The river was the 10♠ and fireworks ensued when kurakasa bombed it all-in for 1,710. KumariOy check-called J♣J♦ for a set of Jacks. kurakasa only held A♠5♠ for a paltry pair of fives. KumariOy won the pot and shipped the tournament.
Ireland’s kurakasa collected $51,130.36 for an impressive runner-up performance. Meanwhile, Russia’s KumariOy earned $80,354.20 for first place and also won a cool SCOOP champion’s watch.
Here is the final hand in the re-player:
2013 SCOOP Event #7-H ($700 NL Heads-Up) – Results:
Prize Pool: $531,335
Places Paid: 128
1. KumariOy (Russia) – $80,354.20
2. kurakasa (Ireland) – $51,130.36
3. nochtm (Bulgaria) – $25,562.52
4. Andrel87 (Sweden) – $25,562.52
5. vic1316 (U.K.) – $14,239.77
6. cgswh1t3 (Canada) – $14,239.77
7. crissdepaiss (Canada) – $14,239.77
8. mtvdeuem (Slovenia) – $14,239.77
Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.