Poland’s Sphinx87 has been within sight of a Super Tuesday title on a number of occasions in the past. The SCOOP and Sunday Million finalist came closest the first time around, finishing third back in mid-2010. Two more final table appearances in 2011 ended in ninth place, along with a 10th-place bubble finish in 2012. Tonight Sphinx87 topped them all, coming to the final table with the chip lead and waging an epic battle before chopping the money heads-up with another past Super Tuesday winner and then taking down the title and more than $69,000.
This week’s tournament drew 422 players, building a $422,000 prize pool that started paying out following SRO1985’s elimination in 63rd, just under five hours into the tournament. After another three and a half hours all but 13 had been knocked out of the running.
With the final table looming there was a wealth of Super Tuesday experience represented – and a large chunk of it was left behind just shy of the final nine. Oliver “sk2ll_m0dR” Wies, who nabbed two Super Tuesday victories in 2016, re-raised all-in with A♥ K♠ as a short stack after fellow past Super Tuesday champion João Mathias “joaoMathias” Baumgarten opened on the button with A♣ 10♣. Baumgarten called, a ten hit the river, and Wies was out in 13th.
Sphinx87 stacked up for the final table run at the expense of João “Naza114” Vieira, who placed third in this tournament last November. Naza114 defended his A♠ A♥ in the small blind against a min-raiser and a caller by re-raising to 146K; Sphinx87, the original raiser, was the only caller to see the 4♥ 3♠ 6♣ flop and led there for 115K. Sphinx87 called Naza114’s re-raise to 268K and then check-called 187K more after the 3♥ turn, which brought the 5♣ on the river. Sphinx87 checked and then called Naza114’s 410K-chip all-in bet, showing down 7♣ 7♠ for the rivered seven-high straight. That cracked the aces, earned the 2.09M-chip pot, and busted Naza114 in 12th.
The next to go was past Sunday Warm-Up and Super Tuesday winner Vlad “dariepoker” Darie. His K♥ Q♥ couldn’t outdraw ULTRA-BURN’s 2♦ 2♥, so he left in 11th. Moments later Andrey_pok21’s Q♥ J♥ failed to crack past Sunday Warm-Up finalist XXDH1983’s pocket kings and the final table lineup was set:
Seat 1: Sphinx87 (2,431,854 in chips)
Seat 2: Magardan (499,104 in chips)
Seat 3: João Mathias “joaoMathias” Baumgarten (1,607,030 in chips)
Seat 4: Adam “fishbones11” Fyshe (1,401,664 in chips)
Seat 5: XXDH1983 (1,224,322 in chips)
Seat 6: 333CHUNIA333 (478,260 in chips)
Seat 7: flippy298 (1,072,498 in chips)
Seat 8: ULTRA-BURNT (1,535,655 in chips)
Seat 9: Alexander “Schildy1984” Debus (299,613 in chips)
An epic battle was in the making, but if anything, the early action hinted at a quick pace. WCOOP 2011 winner Alexander “Schildy1984” Debus had work to do to improve on his two previous Super Tuesday final table appearances and he got started on the first hand, doubling to 654K with A♠ K♦ after shoving over the top of flippy298’s opener with A♥ Q♥.
Three hands later Sphinx87 opened with a min-raise to 50K in early position and XXDH1983 re-raised to 125K with J♦ J♠ in the cutoff seat. XXDH1983 was the only caller after 333CHUNIA333 made it four bets and 430K to go on the button with A♣ K♦, and the jacks held on the 4♠ 6♦ 10♥ 9♣ 6♣ to bust 333CHUNIA333 in ninth.
The pots stayed small for a few minutes after that, save one worth 587K that ULTRA-BURN took from flippy238 at showdown with Q♦ Q♥ and the board reading J♦ 5♦ K♥ K♦ 2♣. On past Super Tuesday and Sunday Million champion Magardan’s next big blind, Schildy1984 opened the action for 55K on the button with A♣ 9♣. Magardan jammed for 371K and had the advantage with A♦ 10♠ but Schildy1984 took the lead with a pair of nines on the J♦ 3♦ 9♠ flop. Magardan picked up a flush draw with the 2♦ on the turn, but the 8♥ gave Schildy1984 the 775K-chip pot and eliminated Magardan in eighth.
Four hands later the action folded around to the small blind and Sweden’s flippy298, far and away the shortest stack at the table with just 244K, tried to steal the pot with J♦ 4♦. ULTRA-BURNT snap-called with K♣ K♦ and watched as the A♣ 2♦ 9♦ flop and 7♦ turn gave flippy298 a flush – and the double to 510K.
The Swede’s reprieve would be short-lived in the end, but it did earn a pay jump after ULTRA-BURNT and Schildy1984 tangled in a big pot. ULTRA-BURNT opened the action for 74K in the hijack seat with K♦ Q♥ and Schildy1984 called in the cutoff, bringing a 10♣ Q♦ 8♣ flop. ULTRA-BURNT check-called 86K with top pair, a prelude to check-raising all-in for 849K after the 6♠ came on the turn. Schildy1984 called with 8♦ 8♥ for a set of eights, which held up after the 6♠ turn and 4♥ river to bust ULTRA-BURNT in seventh.
Within two orbits flippy298 opened all-in from the cutoff with A♥ 6♥ and Sphinx87 successfully isolated with A♠ K♣ in the small blind. The 5♣ 9♠ 8♦ threatened a gutshot straight, but the Q♥ turn and 3♥ river knocked out flippy298 in sixth.
Sphinx87 now led the way with 3.5M chips, with XXDH1983 in second at 2.38M and the other three players ranging between 1.38M and 1.74M each.
The blinds and antes rose to 20K/40K/4K after the break, which worked along with the large number of big blinds still in play at the table to inflate the pots a bit.
The first big pot (worth 2.05M) went to XXDH1983, who min-raised under the gun with A♠ 8♠, flopped two pair, and got three streets of value from joaoMathias, who had defended the big blind. Six hands later all that profit washed away via one nasty cooler. XXDH1983 opened with 6♥ 6♠, Schildy1984 called with 10♦ 10♥, and the flop came 10♣ 6♣ 3♦. Worse yet, the turn was the 10♠. XXDH1983 led on the 9♥ river and called Schildy1984’s all-in re-raise to 908K, giving him a 2.76M-chip win.
joaoMathias doubled up two hands later after raising in the cutoff with A♣ A♠, thanks to Schildy1984 defending the big blind with 10♥ 6♥ and catching a pair-and-draw combo on the 8♣ 10♠ 7♦ flop. The draw missed and the pair didn’t improve, giving joaoMathias the 1.77M-chip pot.
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joaoMathias used that win as ammunition on the following hand, opening for 109K under the gun with Q♦ J♦. XXDH1983 called on the button, bringing a 9♥ 6♥ 10♠ flop. joaoMathias check-called 200K there and then checked again with the nuts after the K♦ turn. XXDH1983 checked behind, bringing the 8♣ river, and once again joaoMathias checked with the king-high straight. XXDH1983 bet 350K and then called all-in for 1.43M – just 21K less than joaoMathias’s bet – and showed down 7♦ 7♥ for a ten-high straight. That wasn’t good enough to take the 3.58M-chip pot, and XXDH1983 bowed out in fifth.
The pace of play slowed down with the table down to four players, and the size of the pots dropped, too. The only one to climb as high in value as 20 big blinds was taken down with kings and jacks on a J♣ 3♠ 5♦ 9♠ K♠ board by Adam “fishbones11” Fyshe, who appeared at three different Super Tuesday final tables in 2016. After another 10 minutes of slow, small pots, Schildy1984 opened for 133K on the button with 8♣ 8♦ and fired back all-in for 1.26M after Sphinx87 re-raised to 425K in the small blind. Sphinx87 called with A♠ 5♠ and made the nut flush when the board came down 10♠ 5♥ 6♠ 6♣ 4♠. That topped pocket eights for the 2.61M-chip pot, and Schildy1984 bowed out in fourth.
The deliberate pace of play continued with the table three-handed. The next hour and a half consisted of long stretches of smallish pots punctuated only occasionally by a survival situation.
The first 20 minutes were mostly competitive, especially after joaoMathias hit running kings with K♥ 9♣ to take a 1.8M-chip pot from Sphinx87 and trim the latter’s chip lead down to less than 10 big blinds. Sphinx87 took seven of the next 10 pots from there, climbing back to a stack worth more than both opponents combined. Then joaoMathias re-raised all-in for 1.5M over the top of Sphinx87’s button opener with K♥ Q♦. Sphinx87 called and lost when an ace hit the flop, and another 600K flowed from Sphinx87 to joaoMathias three hands later to bring them back to within six big blinds of each other.
Small-ball ruled for the rest of the hour and Sphinx87 dominated it to climb back into a solid chip lead. After returning from the 1:55 a.m. ET break, Sphinx87 used that leading stack as very effective leverage. fishbones11 opened on the button for 193K and Sphinx87 called in the small blind to see the Q♣ J♣ K♠ flop. Both players checked, bringing the 8♦ on the turn. Sphinx87 check-called 277K there, putting 1.05M chips i nthe pot before the 5♣ hit the river. Sphinx87 checked one more time, and fishbones11 bet 711K, leaving 1.5M chips behind. After using up the time bank, Sphinx87 check-raised all-in – and fishbones11 eventually folded, ceding the 2.48M in the middle to his opponent.
There wasn’t much room for fishbones11 to err with the blinds and antes at 45K/90K/9K, especially with Sphinx87’s big stack dominating the proceedings. By the time fishbones11 finally picked up K♥ 9♥ on the button he was down to 576K, making for a relatively trivial call for either opponent. Sphinx87 declined in the small blind, but joaoMathias came along in the big blind with 9♣ 7♥ and took down the pot with a pair of sevens after the board came A♣ 10♣ 7♠ J♥ 3♥. That boosted his stack to 2.93M and ended fishbones11’s day in third.
joaoMathias trailed with 2.9M chips to Sphinx87’s 7.6M as heads-up play began and over the first 20 minutes he was able to do no more than hold position. After another 15 minutes he finally found a foothold, winning a 3.2M-chip pot with A♠ K♣ after making a Broadway straight on the river of the 10♦ 2♠ Q♠ 3♣ J♦ board. That trimmed Sphinx87’s lead to 14 big blinds, and after returning from the 2:55 a.m. ET break another win with A♥ K♥ – this one for 11 big blinds – put joaoMathias into a slim lead.
Early on joaoMathias had offered to look at numbers for a deal, but Sphinx87 had replied, “when we will be even or u will have more, i can think about the numbers.” The player from Poland held true to that word and agreed to split up the money now that joaoMathias was in the lead. They chopped it by ICM and left $6,500 on the table for the winner, getting the game underway again in less than 10 minutes.
They continued to play for 10 more minutes after making the deal, trading the lead back and forth, before joaoMathias made a suggestion: “lets start going allin in the next hand? who wins wins?” After more than four hours of final table play and with a deal already in place, both players were ready to put this week’s tournament to bed. Sphinx87 agreed and both platyers, separated by just 232K, went all-in. Sphinx87’s 8♠ 5♠ beat joaoMathias’s 4♦ 3♠ when the board came 5♣ 4♣ Q♥ 2♣ K♣, putting the Brazilian’s chances for a second Super Tuesday title on life support. After doubling twice, joaoMathias’s A♣ 2♠ fell to Sphinx87’s Q♦ J♥ via a jack on the flop and this epic final table came to its conclusion.
Finishing as the runner-up was worth $62,151.19 for João Mathias “joaoMathias” Baumgarten, a fine reward even if it didn’t come with a second career Super Tuesday title. As for Sphinx87, the extra cash for winning brought the total first-place prize to $69,049, plus the intangible satisfaction of making up for all those close calls in the past. Congratulations to both players for surviving all four hours and 20 minutes of this week’s tournament to earn the big money!
4/4/17 Super Tuesday ($1,050 NL Hold’em) results
Total prize pool: $422,000
Places paid: 62
1. Sphinx87 (Poland) $69,049.00*
2. João Mathias “joaoMathias” Baumgarten (Brazil) $62,151.19*
3. Adam “fishbones11” Fyshe (Canada) $40,676.20
4. Alexander “Schildy1984” Debus (Germany) $29,815.52
5. XXDH1983 (Germany) $21,854.70
6. flippy298 (Sweden) $16,019.41
7. ULTRA-BURNT (F.Y.R.O.M.) $11,742.19
8. Magardan (Austria) $8,606.93
9. 333CHUNIA333 (Russia) $6,308.85
* – denotes results of a heads-up deal leaving $6,500 for the winner
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.