If you've been around tournament poker for a while you're probably familiar with the concept of the M-ratio. First quantified by Paul Magriel, the M-ratio tells a poker player just how healthy his stack is compared to the current cost of being at the table. In order to calculate your M-ratio, you simply add up the cost of the blinds and an entire round of antes and divide that sum into the total of number of chips.
Magriel's concept was popularized by three-time WSOP Main Event final tablist and 1995 WSOP Main Event winner Dan Harrington in his Harrington on Hold'em series of strategy guides, which taught an entire generation of poker players the nuts and bolts of successful tournament play. One of Harrington's key additions to Magriel's original formulation was to introduce the idea of "effective M," a downward adjustment on the value of M based on the number of players at the table. Essentially, the smaller the number of opponents, the less your stack is worth.
For players in today's low buy-in SCOOP event, the $16.50 2X Chance Turbo No Limit Hold'em, the number of opponents at the table was far less important to their effective M than the length of the blind levels. In a turbo tournament there is truly never an opportunity to sit back and play it safe: with only five minutes allotted to each level, even a player who managed to hold onto his 5,000-chip starting stack would be in relatively deep water just one hour into the tournament. When you're playing turbo poker, there almost always comes a point where your effective M might as well be zero; the shorter the blind levels, the more you're flying by the seat of your pants.
Perhaps that was why PokerStars players turned out in droves for this event. The $100,000 guarantee was broken before the first cards were ever dealt, and by the end of late registration a total of 11,284 people had signed up. By the end up of the rebuy period 5,755 of them had exercised their option for a single rebuy, which boosted the final prize pool to $255,585 and finalized the top prize at $34,895.45.
A modest contingent of Team PokerStars and Team Online players were among those taking a stab at an astronomical ROI, including Nuno Coelho, JP Kelly, Pieter De Korver, Toni Judet, Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth, Christophe "chrisdm" de Muelder, Fredy "sirfreddy83" Torres, Bryan Huang, Lex Veldhuis, Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby and Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra. All of them would come up short of the money, but several of their fellows managed to cash. Among them were Kristian "CharismA3" Martin (178th place, $132.90), Georgios "gkap13" Kapalas (383rd, $89.45), George Danzer (472nd, $79.23), Joep "Pappe_Ruk" van den Bijgaart (1060th, $51.11), and Anders "Donald" Hoyer Berg, who squeaked into the money once again with a 1615th-place finish for $35.78.
GORAL MAKES A RUN FOR IT
All of the sponsored pros in the tournament were outdone by Team PokerStars Poland's Marcin "Goral" Horecki. The Polish pro survived the first two and a half hours of the tournament to make it to the money bubble, survived the opening of the floodgates once Slovenia's primzo5 busted in 1,621st place, and managed to dodge enough bullets to stay in contention for this SCOOP title as his fellow pros fell by the wayside. As the tournament made its way down to just 16 tables, Goral was more than just the only PokerStars player left in the field: he was in third place with more than 1.7 million chips. But with blinds of 30K/60K and antes of 7,500 - and those numbers continuing to rise every five minutes - he wasn't guaranteed anything more than a modest cash despite the magnitude of the field he had already overcome.
Goral picked up a healthy 2.1-million-chip pot with 90 players left, moving all-in from the button with A♣ J♦ over the top of an under-the-gun raise from TakinUrLast1. Goral was ahead of TakinUrLast1's K♦ 9♦, which was good news; the bad news was that he was behind the A♦ Q♣ of Looser Vogel, who called all-in from the big blind for just over 836,000. The J♠ 5♦ 4♥ flop treated Goral well, though, and the board ran out 8♠ 2♠ to give him a key pot of 2.1 million chips. That win also boosted him to second place just as the tournament went on its fourth break of the day.
Even with 3 million chips in his stack, Goral only had 30 big blinds in his stack when play resumed at the 50K/100K/12.5K level. Just one round of inactivity cost 250K, and by the next level that cost was up to 350K; after one min-raise and fold before the flop, even taking another player out with A♠ T♣ against K♦ Q♥ only left Goral about two blind-steals better than where he had started. Picking up 8♦ 8♠ when Miiiiga$ shoved all-in ahead of him with J♠ 7♣, though, was good for a pot of 3 million when the board fell K♣ 3♣ 4♦ 5♣ 4♥, putting him on a 4.9-million-chip stack.
By the time there were only 30 players left there was exactly 600K in the middle on each hand, with the leader, Faquinn, holding 6.5 million and the average stack worth 2.93 million. Goral had the good fortune to be at a table with a number of other top-10 stacks that he could steal blinds from before the flop, and he tried to do so on consecutive hands at the 150K/300K/37.5K level. The first time worked just fine, but on the second - a shove from early position with 6♠ 6♣ - Goral had the misfortune of running into the A♥ A♣ of netix in the small blind. No sixes fell on the board, giving netix the chip lead with 10.9 million and dropping Goral to 387,997 - just over one big blind. He would bust two hands later, leaving in 27th place with $485.61.
With only two tables left the blinds were up to 400K/800K with antes of 100K, putting 1.9 million up for grabs each hand with the average stack at just under 6 million. Recent chip leaders Faquinn (13th place, $766.75) and netix (12th, $1,022.34) would join Goral on the list of cashers, and ayoustla of Canada closed out the list of players who missed the final table by busting in 10th place.
FINAL TABLE: DEAL OR NO DEAL?
With ayoustla gone, just these nine players were still at the table with blinds at 500K/1M and antes of 125K:
Seat 1: Olischer20 (12,975,458 chips)
Seat 2: Bluffalo666 (11,509,536 chips)
Seat 3: Psellos (14,756,520 chips)
Seat 4: timoros (9,863,085 chips)
Seat 5: placa6 (2,262,612 chips)
Seat 6: Wuki_7 (8,905,577 chips)
Seat 7: Raziel2689 (14,201,574 chips)
Seat 8: plutonius12 (5,410,312 chips)
Seat 9: AidynK (5,110,326 chips)
Everyone was guaranteed nearly $1,600, and with everyone's M-ratio so short - and the blinds and antes rising so quickly - it was no surprise to see AidynK suggest a deal at the break just after the final table began. Several other players were interested, but second-place Raziel2689 quickly squelched the possibility. Unfortunately for AidynK he would be the first one eliminated, taking home $1,597.40 when he called all-in for less than the big blind with 4♦ 3♦ and couldn't outdraw Bluffalo666's A♦ Q♠. That pot, along with several blind steals, helped to move Bluffalo666 into the chip lead, but losing with J♠ J♣ to plutonius12's A♥ A♦ would drop Bluffalo666 back into the middle of the pack again.
The next player out was Wuki_7, whose A♠ J♣ never caught up to palca6's A♣ Q♥. That left Wuki_7 with a nice 8th place consolation prize of $2,555.85. Once again a deal was suggested, but Raziel2689 played the role of spoiler once more by quickly saying no - and then, unsurprisingly, grabbing the chip lead by stealing the 3.3 million chips' worth of blinds and antes in the middle of the table. Just two hands later, though, Raziel2689's preflop shove with A♦ T♣ cost him a big chunk of that stack when timoros called with Q♦ Q♠. Even down to less than four big blinds, though, Raziel2689 refused to deal. "no deal while i'm still in," wrote the UK player, clearly operating on principle rather than playing an advantage. And just a few hands later, Raziel2689 would stay in contention by doubling up to 11.5 million with T♦ T♥ against Olischer20's A♠ 8♥.
Next, Bluffalo666 got a little bit of revenge by shoving with A♠ A♦ and getting plutonius to call with A♥ J♣. The 7♠ 7♥ Q♦ 3♥ J♠ board was no help and plutonius12 left in 7th place with $5,111.70. Bluffalo666, meanwhile, reclaimed the chip lead with a stack worth 28.6 million.
Raziel2689 saddled up beside Bluffalo666 on the next hand thanks to a little luck, shoving from the small blind with 6♠ 2♥ and then catching the 6♥ on the flop to stay ahead of Olischer20's Q♥ 9♣. Raziel2689 then claimed the chip lead on the next pot by knocking Olishcer20 out in 6th place for $7,667.55 with A♥ J♦ against 9♥ 7♦ on a board of 2♠ A♦ J♥ Q♣ 5♣.
With the blinds up to 1M/2M with antes of 250K the action began to speed up even more. Psellos was the next to go, shoving all-in for 10.9 million from the small blind with 8♠ 7♦ and running into the K♥ 5♦ of timoros. The T♠ 9♦ 3♠ put eight outs to a straight and a backdoor flush draw on the board for Psellos, but the T♥ turn and 4♠ river sent him out in 5th place with $10,223.40.
The end loomed near for palca6, who had been hanging on at the bottom of the leaderboard since the final table began, but three double-ups had the Hungarian player back in contention. Just as things were starting to look up, though, Raziel2689 intervened by shoving all-in with T♦ 8♥; [alca6 had the best of it with A♦ 9♦, but a T♠ on the flop was all it took to send palca6 out in 4th place with a $12,779.25 prize.
Now up to 53 million chips, Raziel2689 stepped heavy on the gas and was rewarded by the poker gods with another elimination. This time it was Bluffalo666, whose J♣ 4♣ fell to Raziel2689's A♥ 9♠ to earn a 3rd place finish and $17,890.95. Only five hands into the ultimate matchup and five hours and 26 minutes after the tournament began, the final confrontation with timoros would go just as well for Raziel2689:
Congratulations are in order for Raziel2689, who takes home $34,895.45 and a SCOOP champion's watch for a fine performance, and also for timoros, who took $24,663.95, but no watch, for finishing as the runner-up.
SCOOP Event #15-L $16.50 2X Chance Turbo NLHE Results
1st place: Raziel2689 ($34,895.45)
2nd place: timoros ($24,663.95)
3rd place: Bluffalo666 ($17,890.95)
4th place: palca6 ($12,779.25)
5th place: Psellos ($10,223.40)
6th place: Olischer20 ($7,667.55)
7th place: plutonius12 ($5,111.70)
8th place: Wuki_7 ($2,555.85)
9th place: AidynK ($1,597.40)
Be sure to see who's been taking down all the other SCOOP titles today over at the main SCOOP page. And for the latest scoop on SCOOP, be sure to check out the Inside SCOOP webcast with Joe Stapleton and Nick Wealthall.