Part of the fun of the Spring Championship of Online Poker is the sheer complexity of the schedule. With 44 events, each featuring three separate tournaments with varying buy-in levels, there’s a veritable buffet of poker open to anyone who wants a plate. On top of that, the mix of two-day tournaments and turbo events means that the event numbers tell you next nothing about the order in which SCOOP tourneys will actually finish. And so you get quirks like the fourth event on the schedule being the first one to complete, while the first event won’t finish until well after the the sixth and seventh are underway. If you’re still following, you’re going to love what the next two weeks have in store for you.
Helping to tone down mildly what could descend into chaos otherwise, there aren’t a lot of turbo events on this year’s SCOOP schedule. Just four of the tournaments feature the five-minute levels that have players sitting down one moment and winning big-time cash just a few hours later – 12, if you want to count all three buy-in levels for each event. But that’s still less than 10 percent of the total events on the schedule. Moral of the story: turbo players had better come and get it while the getting’s good this series.
Event #4-H, the first high-stakes turbo tourney on the schdule, had its $500,000 guaranteed prize pool broken before the tournament ever began. The 5,000-chip starting stacks and five-minute levels ended up drawing exactly 1,100 players when late registration came to a close at 6:05 p.m. ET, good for a $1,100,000 prize pool and a $198,000 scheduled first-place prize.
There were 801 players still at the table at that point, but it took only an hour and 17 minutes more to trim away all but the 126 of them who made the money. Another 56 minutes reduced that field to just the nine who would battle over the title and the champion’s watch:
Seat 1: jus2awsum (471,097 in chips)
Seat 2: Ryan “i need sheet” Yu (856,314 in chips)
Seat 3: pedro323 (728,687 in chips)
Seat 4: Mohsin “sms9231” Charania (1,787,976 in chips)
Seat 5: Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (540,872 in chips)
Seat 6: torino2000 (102,192 in chips)
Seat 7: tinchoarce (236,981 in chips)
Seat 8: ekziter (263,924 in chips)
Seat 9: IFiNishfish (511,957 in chips)
Flying out of the gates
With 17.5K/35K blinds in play, the average stack as the final table started was worth just 17 big blinds. Between the five-minute levels and only three players holding on to stacks worth at least the average, there was every reason to expect things to move along quickly.
The first hand kept to expectations when pedro323 opened for 77K in the cutoff, 2010 SCOOP Event #20-H champion Mohsin “sms9231” Charania re-raised to 188K on the button, and torino2000 called all-in for 97K in the big blind. pedro323 folded, leaving Charania’s A♥ K♥ heads-up with torino2000’s 5♣ 5♠. The latter caught a set on the 6♦ 2♥ 5♥ and dodged a flush the rest of the way to chip up to 329K.
Hand #3 saw more short stacks in peril when tinchoarce jammed for 188K in the small blind and two-time Super Tuesday champion ekziter called with just 61K behind in the big blind. tinchoarce’s J♦ 7♦ was live but took a huge blow when the 3♥ 3♠ 2♠ gave ekziter’s K♣ 3♦ three of a kind. The 7♥ turn kept slim hope alive, but the 10♠ on the river busted tinchoarce in 9th place ($13,200).
The blinds and antes kicked up to 20K/40K/5K as the next 10 hands went by unremarkably. torino2000 broke the brief lull by moving all-in for 289K in the hijack seat with K♦ J♦, and jus2awsum raised all-in from the small blind to isolate with A♥ 7♥. Neither player caught anything on the 8♦ 10♣ 3♠ 3♦ Q♥ board, giving jus2awsum the 659K-chip pot and knocking out torino2000 in 8th place ($22,000).
Two hands later ekziter opened for 80K in early position with Q♣ Q♥ and then called when pedro323 shoved for 489K in the small blind. Already ahead against pedro323’s 4♣ 4♦, ekziter flopped a set and turned a full house on the Q♠ J♠ 2♣ J♥ 6♣ board to end pedro323’s day in 7th place ($33,000).
Benny Spindler picked up K♦ K♥ three hands later to double through ekziter’s A♠ K♣, chipping up to 902K. But the pace slowed down drastically after Spindler’s double-up, with 24 hands and an entire blind level transpiring without a single flop until jus2awsum shoved for 628K in the cutoff and Charania called in the small blind with A♠ J♦ and 1.35M behind. Both players caught a pair on the 7♥ K♠ J♠ 2♦ 9♠ board, but jus2awsum took the 1.36M-chip pot with the pair of kings.
It took another 13 hands of flopless poker, and the end of the 30K/60K/7.5K level, before Ryan “i need sheet” Yu broke the streak. He shoved with K♥ 5♦, got a call from Spindler with A♠ 10♣, and caught a pair of fives on the 3♠ Q♠ 5♥ 6♠ Q♦ board to double to 772K.
Two hands later Mohsin Charania and jus2awsum clashed again, with the opposite outcome. Charania opened for the minimum in early position with a raise to 160K and everyone else folded except jus2awsum, who raised all-in for 1.19M total with A♥ Q♣. Charania called with Q♠ Q♥ and 142K left behind, but the cushion was unnecessary. The 10♥ 2♦ 8♦ 10♠ J♣ board presented no threats, and jus2awsum left in 6th place ($44,000).
The inevitable flood
Spindler opened the next pot under the gun with an all-in raise to 816K, which cleared out everyone except fellow short stack IFiNishfish. The Finnish player called for 390K on the button with A♥ K♣, which was ahead of Spindler’s Q♦ 10♦ until the 10♥ Q♥ 9♦ flop gave Spindler two pair. A jack would have moved IFiNishfish back ahead, and after the 2♥ turn any heart would have done the trick as well. But the 10♣ on the river made a boat for Spindler, and IFiNishfish hit the rail in 5th place ($55,440).
The next seven pots after IFiNishfish was knocked out went raise-and-take-it until ekziter opened all-in for 963K in the small blind with 8♥ 7♣ and Ryan “i need sheet” Yu woke up with A♥ A♠. He called all-in, covered by 170K, and the flop was a dangerous 10♥ 5♣ 9♥, but the 3♦ turn and Q♥ river gave no help and the aces held up for a 1.62M-chip pot.
Short from that previous hand, ekziter shoved for 160K behind Q♦ Q♣ and ended up heads-up with Yu’s A♦ 3♥. The queens were a 70-percent favorite before the 9♦ 10♥ 6♦ flop and 82.9 percent to win after it, but the A♠ on the turn gave Yu the lead and ekziter just two outs. The 5♥ on the river wasn’t one of them, and ekziter departed in 4th place ($79,750).
With less than 10 big blinds separating them, the last three players agreed to stop then and look at numbers for a deal:
Seat 2: Ryan “i need sheet” Yu (1,886,223 in chips)
Seat 4: Mohsin “sms9231” Charania (2,127,015 in chips)
Seat 5: Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (1,486,762 in chips)
Nobody felt strongly about the ICM numbers to commit to them in a turbo tourney, so they got back to business. Charania won the first four pots without having to go past the flop before Spindler moved all-in from the button for 1.13M with J♠ 10♠. Charania called with A♣ 2♣, caught top pair on the 7♥ 5♣ A♥ flop, and locked up the pot with trips on the A♠ turn. The J♣ was the final formality for Spindler, who left in 3rd place ($106,700).
Just the third hand after Spindler’s departure saw Yu jam with 2♣ 2♠ and Charania call with A♠ 8♠. The 3♠ 10♦ 5♠ flop was all danger for Yu, and the 8♣ on the turn left him looking for a deuce to make a set and stay alive. But the 10♣ made a full house for Charania on the river instead, bringing the tournament to a close.
SCOOP 04-H: $1,050 No-Limit Hold’em (Turbo)
Prize pool: $1,100,000
Places paid: 126
1. Mohsin “sms9231” Charania (Canada) $198,000
2. Ryan “i need sheet” Yu (South Korea) $143,000
3. Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (Austria) $106,700
4. ekziter (Belarus) $79,750
5. IFiNishfish (Finland) $55,440
6. jus2awsum (Canada) $44,000
7. pedro323 (Canada) $33,000
8. torino2000 (Ireland) $22,000
9. tinchoarce (Argentina) $13,200
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.