At first glance, the game of poker seems to have a phrase for just about every situation a player can face. When you’re under the gun, on the bubble, drawing dead, or taking a final table chip lead wire-to-wire, poker’s metaphorically rich dictionary has you covered.
But what about when you pull off the poker equivalent of carrying a pint back from the bar and only spilling a bit off the top when you dodge the fellow who nearly stumbles into you? There isn’t a catchy phrase for it, but there ought to be. It would be handy for describing the road traveled by this week’s Super Tuesday champion. Other than a brief moment in the mid-game of a two-hour final table where Thomas “WushuTM” Muehlocker won a pot pair-over-pair to move into the lead before sliding backward with multiple small losses, PoluKalos held the chip lead from start to finish en route to a new career-best tournament victory.
This week’s Super Tuesday had a small overlay when the field came to 363 players, 12 shy of enough to cover the $375,000 guarantee. That left a scheduled prize of more than $68,000 waiting up top, and 53 spots in the money waiting to be claimed. China’s ShinLim929 bubbled the money in 54th place, and several hours later past Sunday 500 champ com 157 of the United Kingdom bowed out in 10th, setting up this final table lineup:
Seat 1: PoluKalos (2,679,978 in chips)
Seat 2: alwaysnice (508,279 in chips)
Seat 3: Thomas “WushuTM” Muehlocker (1,724,759 in chips)
Seat 4: am4ever1111 (642,059 in chips)
Seat 5: caaaaamel (451,040 in chips)
Seat 6: Elf Kicker (413,261 in chips)
Seat 7: girafganger7 (1,533,010 in chips)
Seat 8: Emil “Emilohlsson” Ohlsson (703,776 in chips)
Seat 9: João “Naza114” Vieira (418,838 in chips)
caaaaamel came close to winning this tournament not long ago, finishing as the runner-up during a WCOOP 2016 Super Tuesday Special Edition, but coming to the final table short-stacked led to a quick departure this week. caaaaamel called all-in with A♣ 9♠ in the big blind on the second hand after am4ever1111 jammed from the small blind with K♠ 9♦. caaaaamel had the edge until the K♥ 8♥ 8♦ flop gave am4ever1111, a Super Tuesday finalist in August of this year, a pair of kings. The 10♣ turn and J♣ did nothing to change the situation, and caaaaamel was out in ninth.
Three hands later, past SCOOP, TCOOP, and WCOOP finalist girafganger7 limped on the button with J♣ J♠ and called after WPT Copenhagen champ and WCOOP 2016 Wrap-Up finalist Emil “Emilohlsson” Ohlsson jammed for 718K in the small blind with 10♠ 10♥. Ohlsson got no help from the 2♦ 6♣ 2♠ 3♠ 3♦ board and departed in eighth.
One orbit later another short stack would be forced out in the blinds. João “Naza114” Vieira, a past SCOOP runner-up with WCOOP and Super Tuesday final table appearances plus multiple side event wins on the EPT and at the PCA, opened the hand in question by shoving for 372K in the small blind with A♥ 8♠. Past SCOOP, TCOOP, and WCOOP finalist PoluKalos called with K♠ Q♠ in the big blind paired on the turn of the 2♣ 4♣ 6♥ Q♥ 9♥, enough to beat Naza114’s ace-high and send him to the rail in seventh.
After those quick eliminations, the average stack size had gone up a fair bit compared to the blinds, which were unchanged at 12.5K/25K. That helped to provide some stability at the table for the next 35 minutes. PoluKalos was able to hold the chip lead, dropping just a few big blinds over the stretch, and girafganger7 and alwaysnice managed to hold even as well. Thomas “WushuTM” Muehlocker, the SCOOP 2015 Super Tuesday Special Edition winner and EPT10 Barcelona High Roller champ who bubbled last week’s Super Tuesday final, picked up more than a million chips at the collective expense of am4ever1111 and past Super Tuesday runner-up Elf Kicker.
By the time the hourly break rolled around at five minutes before midnight, WushuTM had moved into first place by less than one small blind. Then he picked up K♦ K♥ on the button on the first hand back from the break and re-raised original raiser PoluKalos, only to be four-bet all-in by am4ever1111 in the small blind. PoluKalos and WushuTM called, revealing am4ever1111’s Q♦ Q♣. The 10♥ A♣ J♥ 3♣ 7♣ board brought no help, and am4ever1111 left in sixth.
Mr. Muehlocker had another knockout in sight one orbit later after raising with A♥ K♠ and getting short-stacked Elf Kicker to call with A♣ 10♠ in the small blind, but Elf Kicker caught two tens on the flop to win 644K with three of a kind. The player from Canada picked up A♠ 10♠ on the next orbit and moved in from the cutoff seat, but the 3♥ 8♦ Q♣ 6♦ 8♥ board brought no help to top girafganger’s K♣ K♥ and Elf Kicker was out in fifth.
With four players left, PoluKalos’s 89-big-blind stack was comfortably ahead but not dominant over girafganger (68 big blinds) and WushuTM (53). Meanwhile alwaysnice, a past Sunday Million and SCOOP 2016 finalist who bubbled the final table of Super Tuesday back in 2010, was hanging on with 16 blinds and looking for a way back into the mix. So when PoluKalos limped under the gun and alwaysnice had A♦ 9♥ on the button, alwaysnice jammed for 566K. PoluKalos called with A♣ A♥, the board came K♣ 5♥ 3♦ Q♦ 10♥, and alwaysnice was gone in fourth.
PoluKalos’s roll continued seven hands later after WushuTM raised to 105K on the button with A♦ 10♥. PoluKalos jammed in the big blind with 6♣ 6♠ and Thomas “WushuTM” Muehlocker called, setting up a 2.6M-chip coin flip that could have given him a stack even with girafganger7’s and within one double-up of reclaiming the chip lead. But the 4♦ 6♥ 5♦ flop gave PoluKalos a set of sixes, and the 9♥ left WushuTM drawing dead. The K♥ river finished off the hand, and WushuTM bowed out in third.
That win gave PoluKalos 6.4M chips as heads-up play started, good for a significant lead over girafganger7’s 2.6M. For 15 minutes they traded pots back and forth, with each big win by one player followed by the other making the ground they’d lost right back up. girafganger7 had only managed to trim 10 big blinds off PoluKalos’s stack as the 1:00 a.m. break approached, so they agreed to look at numbers for a deal and came to an agreement within just five minutes. With $7,500 left on the table and the rest of the prize money split up nearly evenly, the game was back underway.
The pots stayed small after the deal was in place, but after about eight minutes PoluKalos was dealt Q♥ Q♠ on the button and limped in. girafganger7 checked in the big blind with Q♣ 9♥ and check-called 79K on the 7♣ J♠ 2♦ flop before check-raising to 408K on a bluff following PoluKalos’s 130K-chip bet on the A♣ turn. PoluKalos called there and again when girafganger7 fired one more 719K-chip bullet on the 6♠ river. The queens held up, and PoluKalos took the 2.5M-chip pot.
girafganger7 was left with 33 big blinds after that loss and dropped just three of them before picking up A♣ 8♣ on the button nine hands later. girafganger7 raised to 138K, which PoluKalos called, and bet 92K when checked to on the 4♥ 4♦ 9♠ flop. PoluKalos then check-raised to 242K, which girafganger7 called, and fired another 232K on the K♥ turn. girafganger7 called there and then once more for 919K with a pair of fours, ace kicker, after PoluKalos moved all-in following the 7♣ river. But PoluKalos’s K♣ 3♣ had paired on the turn, and girafganger7’s tournament had come to an end.
girafganger7 earned $54,357 after the heads-up deal. PoluKalos took the extra $7,500 on the table for a total win over $64,653.02, a new career best by more than $10,000. Congratulations to both players for overcoming a very skilled final table to earn the big money!
11/22/16 Super Tuesday ($1,050 NL Hold’em) results
Total prize pool: $375,000
Places paid: 53
1. PoluKalos (United Kingdom) $64,653.02*
2. girafganger7 (Belgium) $54,357.66*
3. Thomas “WushuTM” Muehlocker (Austria) $36,999.93
4. alwaysnice (United Kingdom) $27,168.82
5. Elf Kicker (Canada) $19,949.88
6. am4ever1111 (Colombia) $14,649.07
7. João “Naza114” Vieira (Czech Republic) $10,756.68
8. Emil “Emilohlsson” Ohlsson (Sweden) $7,898.58
9. caaaaamel (Germany) $5,799.86
* – denotes results of a heads-up deal
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.