March Madness. With Duke taking out Baylor this afternoon there are only four left from the original 64 teams which become one of the most wagered on sporting events in the United States. Personally, my bracket took a beating early as my bets became recyclable trash, similar to the 4,016 players that did not cash in this evening's Sunday Warm-up, as 675 did take a slice of the $938,200.00 prize pool which broke the $750,00 guarantee once again. While the $5 office pool pales in comparison to the $215 price tag for the tournament, so does the $147,187.03 first place prize with slightly beats out the $80 I could have won for correctly picking Butler, Michigan State, Duke, and West Virginia in the Final Four.
We'll call them Final Nine, as that's where the big cash lies, and getting close to those big payouts was Team PokerStars Pro Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis. Down to four tables remaining Veldhuis would take a hit on his stack after a blind steal went wrong with A7o and the big blind woke up with ATo which held for the majority of the pro's chips. Four hands later with blinds at 30K/60K ante 6K Lex would raise to 135K from UTG and Yankees31 would push the pro all-in from middle postion. 1/3 of Veldhuis' chips were in the middle as he made the call holding 3♦A♣. Yankees31 rolled over Q♦A♠ for the dominate hand and it held on the 2♦ Q♣ T♥ J♦ J♠ board to knock out RaSZi in 29th place ($2,064.04).
Gross. There are no other words for the double elimination that occurred to set up tonight's final table. Watch below as FIGARO10 throws a double knockout punch.
And with FIGARO10's quad queens, we were down to the Final Nine as shown below starting off with 80K/160K ante 16K blinds:
Seat 1: Firaldo87 (4375491 in chips)
Seat 2: Radioheads (4420415 in chips)
Seat 3: Comandr_Cool (3549448 in chips)
Seat 4: FIGARO10 (7068924 in chips)
Seat 5: Coltaine (6500265 in chips)
Seat 6: DNA2RNA (3660271 in chips)
Seat 7: LuckyTC (5240038 in chips)
Seat 8: djk123 (5466992 in chips)
Seat 9: SNo0oWMAN (6628156 in chips)
All eyes were on Dan "djk123" Kelly the 2009 WCOOP "Player of the Series" after taking down two bracelets and adding a 4th place performance in the Main Event for $643,200. At the first final table break, he was the first to jump into an eight figure stack.
With the first hand after the break, the blinds rose 100K/200K ante 20K and the final table shrunk from nine to eight. Comandr_Cool with Conan O'Brien in his corner (or at least as an avatar), made a min rise to 400K as Coltaine two seats over shoved to the tune of 2.28 million chips. Folded back around to Comandr_Cool who would make the call with K♥Q♣, facing the J♠T♠ of Coltaine. Comandr_Cool would flop top pair 3♦ K♣ 5♠ and would need to fade a flush draw after the turned 7♠. But the 3♣ gave Coltaine some walking papers in ninth place ($7,505.60).
After an uneventful first round of blinds at the final table things heated up quickly as six hands later we had our second elimination. djk123 led off the betting with the popular min raise as Firaldo87 shoved over-the-top for 3.4 million. Folded around to FIGARO10 in the big blind who would make the call as djk123 sat this one out. Pocket jacks J♦ J♠ for FIGARO10 was well ahead of the A♦T♣ held by Firaldo87. The jacks were never threatened on the 4♠ 8♥ 6♦ K♠ 8♦ board as FIGARO10 won the 7.6 million chip pot and Firaldo87 flamed out in eighth place ($11,727.50).
Still in the 100K/200K ante 20K blind level, FIGARO10 went back to work, this time tangling with Radioheads. Watch the hand play out below:
Pocket jacks for the win and 7.3 million chips! Once again FIGARO10 found jacks J♦J♠ and found them in an even more dominate position over the pocket tens T♦T♠ of Radioheads. No suckout on the K♦ A♥ 4♦ K♣ 5♦ board as Radioheads' tournament was turned off in seventh place ($21,109.50).
As the blinds rose to 125K/250K ante 25K, FIGARO10 once again found a high pocket pair this time passing jacks and moving up to pocket kings K♥K♠ and after trading four-bets with SNo0oWMAN preflop, all of the SNo0oWMAN's chips were in the middle holding A♦J♣. Our first eight figure pot (10.3 million) was formed as the favorite held once again 5♦ 5♣ 9♥ Q♣ 8♦. As spring is here bringing the sunshine and warmth, the SNo0oWMAN also melted in sixth place ($30,491.50). SNo0oWMAN is a regular to the big Sunday Tournaments and cashes often, including a $20K score in the $215 with Rebuys tourney back in July of 2008.
Three hands later with the blinds still at 125K/250K ante 25K the fairly quiet DNA2RNA decided to break the silence and maybe some chromosomes with a shove from UTG for 1.5 million. djk123 on the button would make the call holding 9♣A♦ and found himself ahead of the T♠J♦ of DNA2RNA. The ace would play on the all low board 4♠ 4♣ 3♦ 8♦ 3♥ as Kelly scooped up the 3.6 million chip pot and DNA2RNA would disappear in fifth place ($39,873.50). DNA2RNA is a regular SnG player who managed a fourth place finish in the monthly Battle of the Planets Triple Shootout.
Continuing with the rapid eliminations, five hands later LuckyTC tried to push Comandr_Cool off his hand with a three-bet shove for 3.8 million. Barring a misclick, Comandr_Cool wasn't folding pocket aces A♣A♥ and managed to click the call button. 2♥J♦ for LuckyTC who found a little luck on the flop but drawing dead after the ace hit the turn on the 2♦ 8♦ 9♠ A♠ K♣ board. LuckyTC, a VIP Supernova, also found his way to the Battle of the Planets final table for a seventh place finish, has several big Sunday tournament scores and adds a fourth place finish here ($53,008.30).
The hand of the tournament, much like the one that broke down the penultimate table involved a major cooler. Watch below as all three of our players are all-in after the flop:
Dan "djk123" Kelly: A♠A♥
With blinds at 125K/250K ante 25K after the flop of T♣ 2♦ Q♣ both djk123 and Comandr_Cool would check to FIGARO10 who would bet 1.5 million. djk123, after taking a few hits to his stack would push all-in for 5.4 million. After a few ticks on the time box, Comandr_Cool shoved for 12.7 million as FIGARO10 covered both players and called. 9♠ on the turn and 6♥ meant Kelly would take the main pot worth 18.5 million while FIGARO10's pocket kings hauled in 14.6 from the side pot with Comandr_Cool eliminating the Coco fan in third place ($77,401.50). Comandr_Cool added this win to a chopped victory in the $215 NLHE Heads-up tourney in January as our final two moved on to heads-up play.
Chop talks never entered the surface of the chat box, so the final two would hammer at each other for that $147,187.03 first place prize.
Seat 4: FIGARO10 (28330364 in chips)
Seat 8: djk123 (18579636 in chips)
FIGARO10 held a 10 million chip advantage as djk123 was eyeing to add another title to his already very impressive collection of wins. But, this one was over before it started as heads-up play lasted just five hands. FIGARO would take down three of the four hands, opening up a 33.6 million to 13.2 million chip lead on the 2009 WCOOP Players of the Series. Then with blinds moving up to 150K/300K ante 30K after a min raise by Kelly, a three-bet to 1.8 million by FIGARO10, both players got their chips in the middle with pairs. Pocket sixes for FIGARO10 6♥6♣ and pocket fours 4♦4♣ for djk123. The 2♠ A♣ Q♦ T♠ 6♦ board once again allowed the favorite to win as the champ was taken down by FIGARO10 but earned another six-figure score in second place ($109,300.30).
FIGARO10 held the right cards at the right times turning those quad queens before the final table into $147,187.03 by winning tonight's Sunday Warm-up.
$750,000 Guarantee Sunday Warm-Up results (03-28-10)
1. FIGARO10 (SALE) $147,187.03
2. Dan "djk123" Kelly $109,300.30
3. Comandr_Cool (davie) $77,401.50
4. LuckyTC (London) $53,008.30
5. DNA2RNA (Las Vegas) $39,873.50
6. SNo0oWMAN (fort myers) $30,491.50
7. Radioheads (Bergen) $21,109.50
8. Firaldo87 (Dumfries) $11,727.50
9. Coltaine (Wonderland) $7,505.60