Back in 2016, airlewis was within sight of a major PokerStars title. That January the Brit kicked off the year by reaching a Sunday Warm-Up final, losing a key pot heads up to finish second. A shot at redemption came along tonight, albeit against a tough Super Tuesday line up. Airlewis grabbed it with both hands – holding tight even as the opportunity looked like slipping away. But at nearly the same point in the tournament last year, where a coin flip gone wrong sent airlewis tumbling, pocket rockets came along to lift airlewis into the stratosphere. Airlewis made the most of that twist and minutes later was enjoying life as the latest Super Tuesday champion.
This week’s tournament got a guarantee boost to $325,000, a figure which was easily topped by the 357-player field. After four hours of late registration it took only another hour and a half to hit the money. airlewis briefly held the chip lead around that time but slipped back into the pack for another three hours until Austria’s Robabatt busted on the bubble, setting up a characteristically stacked Super Tuesday final table.
Seat 1: ex6tenceLV (1,600,086 in chips)
Seat 2: Scott “Aggro Santos” Margereson (949,414 in chips)
Seat 3: montjeu8 (1,171,493 in chips)
Seat 4: Ti0373 (502,624 in chips)
Seat 5: eustys6 (1,437,323 in chips)
Seat 6: airlewis (960,865 in chips)
Seat 7: Robert “pokerguru740” Kuhn (898,582 in chips)
Seat 8: Bernardo “Machadada RS” Rocha (385,912 in chips)
Seat 9: thx4urm0n3y (1,018,701 in chips)
Nobody was particularly short-stacked when play began with the blinds and antes at 10,000/20,000/2,000. WCOOP 2014 double bracelet winner and past Sunday Million champion Scott “Aggro Santos” Margereson bided his time when didn’t find many opportunities to get involved in the action early on, but he still got a call when he raised with 10♣ 10♦ in middle position about 20 minutes in. eustys6, who finished second in the 8/16/16 Super Tuesday, made two pair with Q♥ 9♥ on the 3♣ 9♣ Q♦ flop and bet small when Aggro Santos checked. He called there and check-called again on the Q♣ turn before calling all-in with queens and tens one final time on the 4♥ river. That couldn’t top eustys6’s full house and Aggro Santos left in ninth.
Three-time WCOOP champ Ti0373 looked likely to follow soon after defending the big blind all-in a few hands later with K♦ 10♣ against ex6tenceLV’s button-raising A♦ 9♣, but a ten on the flop kept the short-stacked Russian player going with an 18-big-blind pot. Three hands later Ti0373 doubled that after raising small in the cutoff with A♣ Q♥, calling all-in when two-time SCOOP champ Robert “pokerguru740” Kuhn re-raised with pocket treys in the big blind, and flopping a queen. Three hands later pokerguru740 moved in on a squeeze play with A♥ K♥ in the cutoff after eustys6 min-raised and airlewis called. eustys6 snap-called with K♣ K♦ when the action came back around and the kings held up to end pokerguru740’s run in eighth.
The rest of the first hour played out in small pots. Former Sunday Million, Super Tuesday, and WCOOP finalist montjeu8 was on the short side of a few of them, then picked up 9♦ 9♠ on the button, moving in for about five big blinds. Ti0373 came along from the small blind with K♦ Q♠ and made kings and queens, knocking montjeu8 out in seventh place, and climbing into second place.
Enter the survivor
The owner of the shortest stack as Tuesday night became Wednesday morning was former WCOOP champ thx4urm0n3y, who won the Sunday Million this past February and then again in August. The prospect of winning a third major title in 2017 was still technically possible, though with a stack of 14 big blinds, a lot of things needed to go right. Then things did start going right.
First thx4urm0n3y re-raised to 350,000 chips in the small blind after eustys6 min-raised in the cutoff and airlewis called on button. eustys6 came along but then mucked when thx4urm0n3y jammed for 142,805 chips more on the 8♠ 7♥ 2♦ flop, surrendering the 808,500-chip pot. Two hands later thx4urm0n3y took a further step forward, min-raising with J♥ 9♥ on the button, calling Ti0373’s re-raise from the big blind, and turning a flush. Unable to extract maximum value thanks to a paired board, thx4urm0n3y still collected more than a million chips at showdown.
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Ten minutes later Ti0373 looked to get those chips back from thx4urm0n3y, who opened the hand with a small button raise to 83,000. Ti0373 called in the big blind and check-called a small bet on the A♣ 7♦ A♦ flop, checked again on the Q♦ turn, and then check-called a pot-sized bet after the 5♣ river. thx4urm0n3y turned over A♠ Q♣ for aces full of queens and dragged another million-chip pot to move within five big blinds of the lead. eustys6’s J♥ J♠ held up on the next hand against Ti0373’s A♣ 9♣ to bust the Russian player in sixth.
Airlewis, who had picking up orphaned pots with frequency before Ti0373’s fortunes turned south, had the lead now and pressed the advantage, picking up about 20 big blinds as the shorter-stacked players mostly looked to avoid being knocked out and missing the $7,000 pay jump from fifth place to fourth. thx4urm0n3y was still lurking about 30 big blinds back, but then eustys6 and thx4urm0n3y played the largest non-split pot of the final table.
Eustys6 and airlewis called in the small and big blinds, respectively, to see the 8♠ 2♠ K♥ flop after thx4urm0n3y opened for 103,500 chips in the cutoff. airlewis check-folded there, but eustys6 check-called 93,645 to see the A♣ turn. eustys6 check-called 215,750 this time and then checked once again on the 6♣ river. This time eustys6 fired back for 900,000 after thx4urm0n3y bet small for 350,000. thx4urm0n3y thought it over and finally called, only to muck when eustys6 turned over 8♥ 8♦ for a flopped set of eights.
Despite being left with less than eight big blinds’ worth of chips by that loss, thx4urm0n3y wasn’t the next player out. Latvia’s two-time SCOOP champion ex6tenceLV open-shoved with 3♠ 3♥ five minutes later and only got action from Bernardo “Machadada RS” Rocha with 10♠ 10♣ in the small blind. The WCOOP 2017 Main Event third-place finisher and past TCOOP champ made an unnecessary set on the river to take down the 1.6-million-chip pot and end ex6tenceLV’s tournament in fifth.
“cool jumpssss,” thx4urm0n3y said in recognition of the pay jump – and, perhaps with a nod to his reality-star avatar, added, “IM A SURIVVOAARR.”
A tale of cowboys and rockets
Thx4urm0n3y promptly tested that theory and moved in with A♥ 9♥ on the button. airlewis called with 10♣ 10♦ in the big blind but thx4urm0n3y rivered a third heart to stay in the game with a flush.
The next ten minutes were tense as everyone waited to see if thx4urm0n3y would earn another pay jump. The tension was finally broken when he shoved with Q♠ J♥ in the small blind and eustys6 snap-called in the big with K♣ K♥. The 10♠ 7♠ 5♥ 4♦ 9♣ board provided no relief and thx4urm0n3y was denied a third major title of 2017 in fourth place.
That bit of good timing boosted eustys6’s stack to 4.3 million chips, about five big blinds less than airlewis’s and Machadada RS’s stacks combined. Five minutes later the pendulum swung back and dropped eustys6 into last place after the Brit limped from the small blind with K♠ 9♦. airlewis raised to 180,000 in the big blind and eustys6 called, then led out for 189,000 with a pair of nines on the 5♣ 9♠ 3♠ flop. airlewis raised to 425,555 and eustys6 called again, making trip nines on the 9♣ turn. This time both players checked and the A♣ came on the river. eustys6 led with a pot-sized bet of 1.2 million chips and then called when airlewis raised all-in for another 770,000, only to find that airlewis had rivered a full house with A♦ A♠.
That 5.2-million-chip win flipped the order of things around completely. airlewis now had 25 big blinds more than both opponents combined and leaned on them both heavily, scooping up three-quarters of the pots uncontested before the next showdown. eustys6 won that one with A♣ A♦ against airlewis’s 5♣ 5♦, but even then airlewis couldn’t lose – at 5.6 million chips, the U.K. player had actually gained ground since the field was reduced to three. Machadada RS took a stand a few hands later, jamming for 10 big blinds with A♠ 4♣ in the small blind after airlewis opened on the button with J♣ 10♣. The slim favorite was sunk when the Q♠ 2♣ Q♦ J♦ 10♠ board gave airlewis queens and jacks, ending Machadada RS’s run in third.
airlewis’s game plan didn’t change at all with a 3.5-to-1 heads-up chip lead. Nor did the execution. airlewis took down 12 of the next 17 pots to keep the pressure on driving eustys6’s stack down to about 15 big blinds. eustys6, whose previous heads-up experience in the Super Tuesday lasted just five minutes, held out about that long this time around before finally calling all-in with 10♦ 8♦ in desperation, only to find the slim hope of a flush blocked by airlewis’s A♦ 7♦. Both players paired on the flop and eustys6 picked up a gutshot draw on the turn, but the river of the A♣ 2♣ 8♥ 6♦ Q♦ board left airlewis in the lead to bring this tournament to a close.
eustys6 had to settle for second place once again, though tonight’s prize – the biggest cash of eustys6’s career here at PokerStars – adds up to more than $90,000 total for the player from the U.K. when combined with the take from last August. airlewis also banked a new career-best score for the win, topping that Sunday Warm-Up runner-up finish and a win in the Sunday Grand back in April of this year. Congratulations to them both on their new personal best cashes!
10/17/17 Super Tuesday ($1,050 NL Hold’em) results
Total prize pool: $357,000
Places paid: 53
1. airlewis (United Kingdom) $65,328.33
2. eustys6 (United Kingdom) $47,969.91
3. Bernardo “Machadada RS” Rocha (Brazil) $35,223.94
4. thx4urm0n3y (Canada) $25,864.72
5. ex6tenceLV (Latvia) $18,992.99
6. Ti0373 (Russia) $13,945.91
7. montjeu8 (Lebanon) $10,240.36
8. Robert “pokerguru740” Kuhn (Mexico) $7,519.45
9. Scott “Aggro Santos” Margereson (Mexico) $5,521.46
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.