May Day May Day! While your humble author woke up to snow this morning, May Day traditionally is the celebration of the coming of spring with things like warm sun and flowers blooming, not snow. At PokerStars the coming of spring means the start of the two week long Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) with $25 million in guarantees being spread across three buy-in levels and 114 tournaments to suit everyone's bankroll. The $215 spent by 3,393 players to enter tonight's $500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-up would get you into most of the medium buy-in levels for a shot at becoming a SCOOP champion and claiming a little bling for your wrist as well as your pocket. Tonight's victor will not go away with a SCOOP champion's watch, but we are sure the winner's check of $106,541.19 will satisfy even the high rollers.
Team PokerStars was not to be found among the 495 players that cashed tonight. Juan Macieras (584th place) Ivan Demidov (645th place) Marcel Luske (703rd place) Richard "Tzen1" Veenman (833rd place) Anders "Donald" Berg (856th place) Javier "El_Cañonero" Dominguez (862nd place) all tried to earn some much needed steam going into next week, but came up empty.
The players below not only cashed but managed to make it through eight hours of intense tournament play with the biggest prizes yet to be awarded. robinho (15th place), bloodytiger (14th place) and sera_alex (13th place) would all walk away with $3,053.70 as the next three would take $4,071.60 as a consolation prize for missing the final table. jospemaria ran AQo into pocket queens to finish 12th and Halfprice's pocket fours 4♦4♥ could not dodge PizzicatoXev's J♣A♣ as the turn and river 8♣ 5♠ 8♦ A♠ J♥ did in the Canadian's stack in 11th place. Then with the blinds at 50K/100K ante 10K on the very next hand, zelya888 was battling with a short stack, at one point holding just over two big blinds, managed to grind along for 15 minutes and was in the small blind holding pocket fours 4♠4♥ and 1.09 million in chips facing an UTG min-raise by o23oSyD. All-in was the strategy, but o23oSyD was comfortable making the call with pocket kings K♦K♥. Much like Halfprice's fours, they could not turn the tide on the J♠ 6♠ Q♥ 3♥ 3♣ board and zelya888 would have to sit out the final table in tenth place ($4,071.60).
Seat 1: Alex21reg (4727370 in chips)
Seat 2: eShaMeister (3889994 in chips)
Seat 3: dean23price (2621725 in chips)
Seat 4: hellator (3967462 in chips)
Seat 5: o23oSyD (6569066 in chips)
Seat 6: PizzicatoXev (4918946 in chips)
Seat 7: Punkfloyd (1845137 in chips)
Seat 8: Norrda (1007676 in chips)
Seat 9: paranoik333 (4382624 in chips)
No time to waste
Just three hands into the final table a 5.1 million chip pot broke out. With the blinds still at 50K/100K ante 10K the action folded to eShaMeister on the button who bumped it up to 256,000. dean23price would make it 2.45 million from the small blind leaving just 41,275 chips behind. eShaMeister holding A♠Q♣ covered all of it making the final raise to put dean23price all in. K♠9♠ of dean23price would need some help quickly as a queen was put on the flop 7♥ Q♠ 4♦. Sadly, the hour seven chip leader could not continue as dean23price blanked on the turn 7♦ and river T♦ to finish in ninth place ($5,428.80). Not quite the performance dean23price gave just a few weeks ago finishing third in the Sunday Warm-up for $76K.
He hit The Wall
All in all Punkfloyd just wanted to see five bricks on the wall. Instead he got the hand below:
"Daddy what else did you leave for me?" Norrda answered "nothing". Punkfloyd's pocket jacks J♥J♠ that dominated the J♦A♦ of Norrda preflop got a rude three diamond flop and two more for a board full of diamonds 2♦ 8♦ K♦ 9♦ 6♦ shipping the 3.1 million chip pot to Norrda's nut flush and Punkfloyd out in eighth place ($8,482.50).
Pocket jacks find redemption
With plenty of chips spread along our final seven we would skip to the 80K/160K ante 16K blind level before our next elimination. eShaMeister would open from the cutoff for 409,600 as PizzicatoXev made it 1,234,567 from the big blind. Back to eShaMeister who took a ticks off the clock before shoving for 4.5 million total, PizzicatoXev did not need any time to cover and call with pocket jacks J♦J♣. eShaMeister flipped up big slick K♠A♦ and needed to find a piece of the board for the huge 9.2 million chip pot. Nothing big, nothing small came down on the 6♣ 8♥ 8♦ 7♣ T♦ board and eShaMeister took home $15,268.50 in seventh place.
Going into the ninth hourly break o23oSyD skimmed some chips off PizzicatoXev to be the first to eight figures (11,775,096) with PizzicatoXev (6,703,765) and hellator (5,306,572) just behind.
Several times around the track and no one wanted to leave just yet as the blinds moved up to 125K/250K ante 25K when Alex21reg tried to put the squeeze on hellator's big blind by pushing from the small blind holding just 7♥J♣. hellator however was not letting go of pocket fours 4♦4♥ and made the call all-in. A♦ T♣ T♦ flop was clean as was the 5♠ turn, but the A♠ landed on the river to counterfeit hellator's fours as the aces and tens with a jack kicker took it down for Alex21reg, and hellator claimed sixth place cash ($22,054.50).
Starting to speed things up
While most of the eliminations tonight have been spaced out, just four hands after hellator left for the night we would name our fifth place finisher. Watch it play out below:
Blinds still at 125K/250K ante 25K o23oSyD would open for a min-raise UTG as PizzicatoXev wasted no time shoving for 5.2 million from the cutoff. Folded back around to o23oSyD holding J♣A♠ and tournament life on the line, o23oSyD made the call. PizzicatoXev covered and dominated holding A♣Q♥ and did not need the aces full boat [Qd ]8♠ A♦ 6♥ A♥ to take down the 9.01 million chip pot, but it was effective enough to kick o23oSyD out of the tourney in fifth place ($28,840.50).
Immediately after a couple of quick inquiries came out about a possible four-way chop, but PizzicatoXev wanted $100,000 despite not even holding the chip lead. A quick chuckle by the remaining three and it was back to the action with the blinds moving up to 150K/300K ante 30K.
Coin flips are always exciting. It is the moment that all poker skill goes out the window and you leave your tournament fate to the next five cards on the board. paranoik333 who has quietly stayed out of the spotlight yet effectively held a 7.1 million chip stack while four-handed, made a min-raise from the cutoff as Alex21reg three-bet from the button to 1.5 million. Back to paranoik333 who would shove for that 7.1 million holding J♦K♦ found a caller in Alex21reg with pocket sevens 7♠7♦. Sevens were good on the T♠ 2♣ 3♦ flop but a king K♣ would spike on the turn as paranoik333 took the lead. One card to come, two outs and the 7♣ was one of them. 14.7 million chips to Alex21reg and $39,019.50 to paranoik333 in fourth place.
Sending out the bait
The blinds would hold steady for our next all-in as PizzicatoXev took the hand off and folded the button as Norrda made a raise to 695,500 and Alex21reg called. 3♠ 5♥ 3♦ flopped and Norrda followed through with a 1.2 million chip bet and Alex21reg called again. Norrda would shove 6.3 million chips on the 4♥ turn as Alex21reg covered and snap called with pocket aces A♣A♣. Norrda's overpair of sevens 7♠7♣ had six outs but the J♠ was not one of them as the 16.4 million chip pot went to Alex21reg and Norrda found $55,984.50 in his PokerStars bankroll for third place.
One-two punch for the title (including one in the gut)
Alex21reg would bring a huge 25 million to 8.8 million chip lead into heads-up play against PizzicatoXev who wanted that six figure payday and now was just one person away from it. Just 13 hands into the final two PizzicatoXev would make the first big move. With the blinds still at 150K/300K ante 30K both players would raise until 19.5 million chips were in the middle preflop with PizzicatoXev's tournament life on the line. Alex21reg would need some help however holding A♥9♠ to PizzicatoXev's A♦T♦. By the turn, hopes of a split pot entered 7♥ 3♦ 3♥ A♣ as any jack, queen, or king would allow Alex21reg to keep his big lead. But the 4♣ fell and PizzicatoXev took the lead 19.5 million to Alex21reg's 14.3 million.
Two hands later watch below as Alex21reg took the lead back 18 million to 15.9 million and needed to fade one more card for the title and....
... ace on the river
Alex21reg set it up after flatting a 4.5 million chip four-bet preflop and after the 9♦ 7♥ 2♣ flop checked as PizzicatoXev shoved for 11.3 million holding top pair top kicker 9♠A♣ and Alex21reg snap called with pocket kings K♠K♥. Dodged the 4♥ turn, but not the A♥ river as PizzicatoXev scooped up the 31.8 million chips and finished Alex21reg's decimated stack on the next hand to take down this week's Sunday Warm-up for $106,541.19!
$500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-up results (05-01-11)
1. PizzicatoXev (United Kingdom) $106,541.19
2. Alex21reg (Russia) $79,396.20
3. Norrda (Sweden) $55,984.50
4. paranoik333 (Russia) $39,019.50
5. o23oSyD (Germany) $28,840.50
6. hellator (Germany) $22,054.50
7. eShaMeister (Russia) $15,268.50
8. Punkfloyd (United Kingdom) $8,482.50
9. dean23price (United Kingdom) $5,428.80