Five-card draw is a game with serious old-school credentials. The first chapter of Herbert O. Yardley's classic 1957 instructional text The Education of a Poker Player is devoted to the game, and it was the main game in the cardrooms of Southern California back in the 1970s. While it no longer enjoys the same popularity, for a large swath of the community draw is a game that brings back a flood of memories. If you aren't part of the generation that was drawn to poker through hold'em there's a good chance you've played a fair bit of five-card draw over the years, whether it was in games of dealer's choice with school friends or penny-ante poker nights with the family around the kitchen table.
With so many other, flashier variations of poker taking up most people's time at the tables, you could be forgiven for thinking that a five-card draw tournament wouldn't be tops on too many people's lists of thing to do on a Tuesday. But when there's a SCOOP winner's watch and a $40,000 guarantee prize pool on the line, the field fills up quicker than you can say "stand pat." Today's $109 event drew a field of 464, good enough to top the guarantee and build a $46,400 prize pool and a top prize of $8,978.40. Among the hopefuls were nine Team PokerStars and Team Online players. The bulk of them finished shy of the money, including Lex Veldhuis, Bryan Huang, Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth, Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby, Pat Pezzin, ElkY, and Kristian "CharismA3" Martin.
As the tournament closed in on the money bubble and went to its first 15-minute break of the day on with blinds at 400/800 and antes at 200, only Anders "Donald" Hoyer Berg and George Danzer remained in contention from the PokerStars pro contingent. Berg was in good shape with 41,211 chips while Danzer was holding on for his tournament life with 9,213 chips. Berg's tournament came crashing to a halt on two hands where he held three of a kind; on the first he held his trips before the draw and was chased down by DanceWivMe, and on the second he drew a third ten to match the two in his hand, only to find himself outpipped by nicoji83's trip jacks and eliminated in 62nd place. It looked as if Danzer would be the bubble boy, seeing how he had been card-dead for some time and his 513 remaining chips weren't even enough to cover the big blind. But before Danzer could hit the rail, well-known online player and draw aficionado SirWatts busted in 61st place on this hand:
The $185.60 payout George Danzer received when he became the first player to bust in the money made him the only PokerStars pro to cash in this event and left 59 other draw enthusiasts to vie for the top prize. With the money bubble in the rearview, the next task was to move on to the big money at the final table.
THE FINAL TWO TABLES: TABLE 58
With nine players remaining on the 3K/6K/1,500 level it looked like DeepF of the Ukraine, who held the shortest stack with just 85K, might be the next player out. MendaLerenda of Spain, meanwhile, was winning pot after pot and held a slight chip lead over the rest of the table. But DeepF managed to double up on a fortunate hand, being dealt K♣ 9♠ Q♥ J♠ T♥ before the draw for a pat straight and getting all-in for nearly 190K against MendaLerenda, who drew just one card but couldn't improve from 2♣ 6♣ 2♠ T♦ 6♦ to a full house.
That dropped MendaLerenda to less than 100K on the 3K/6K/1,500 level - not as good as before, but still plenty to to work with. Then, just a few hands later, what looked like a possible final table appearance ended in a 9th place exit and a $974.40 prize for MendaLerenda after what appears to have been the best hand before the draw failed to hold up:
From that point the four-handed table continued to keep a steady equilibrium with DeepF at about 400K and everyone else keeping their heads above water and looking for an opportunity. When Goauriku of the Netherlands picked up a pair of aces, then, things had to appear positive - after all, a pair of aces never looks bad if you're not playing lowball, and most especially when you're nearing a SCOOP final table bubble. Goauriku's timing couldn't have been much worse, though, as this hand sealed an 8th place fate and a $974.40 prize:
THE FINAL TWO TABLES: TABLE 19
QcKimo of Canada had been in the top five of the tournament since before that bubble popped and managed to grab the lead as the field was reduced to 12 players. A couple of blind-vs.-blind hands against nicoji83 of Portugal on the 2,500/,000/1,250 level gave QcKimo some breathing room as the final table grew closer - one won with an ace-high flush, the other with trips treys against a nicoji83 bluff bet after the draw.
But as the poker gods giveth, so they also taketh away - and in QcKimo's case they put him a nasty position, squished between fellow big stack devsdynamite on the left and shorter stacks nicoji83 and pokerboy22, who were both holding on for their tournament lives, on the right. By the time the field was down to just nine players, the balance of the table had shifted to devsdynamite, who held almost 1 million chips more than the other three players at the table with the blinds still at 4K/8K and antes of 2K.
Portugal's nicoji83 had less than five big blinds left on multiple occasions but managed to find a way to double up, while pokerboy22 tried to stay out of the way and make the pay jump. With those two locked into a struggle to avoid being the 7th place finisher and QcKimo unwilling to tangle once that same elimination became a distinct possibility, devsdynamite was in perfect position to selectively avoid the short stacks and whittle QcKimo down. Eventually devsdynamite got the best of nicoji83 on this hand to set the final table lineup:
THE FINAL TABLE
Both of the last two tables had settled into a rhythm where all the shorter stacks waited to see who would get coolered first, so Sweden's devsdynamite came in with a pretty big chip lead. There's no such thing as a lock in poker, of course, but with this lineup it appeared that the Swede was a heavy favorite to win the tournament:
Seat 1: pokerboy22 (20,138 chips)
Seat 2: vinicius007 (193,089 chips)
Seat 3: jjsbryan (317,409 chips)
Seat 4: devsdynamite (1,171,752 chips)
Seat 5: QcKimo (162,468 chips)
Seat 6: DeepF (455,144 chips)
As Team Online's Daleroxxu stepped in to congratulate everyone on making the final table and pokerboy22 had a request. "I need some chips, can you help with that?" asked pokerboy22. "yeah sure," replied Daleroxxu. "1000 playmoney chips being credited to your account as we speak." Alas, all the play money in the world was no help. Worn down by the battle of attrition with nicoji83 at Table 19, pokerboy22 would be committed all-in on the small blind just a few hands into the final table. He drew just one card with an ace-high flush draw but was only able to improve to J♣ A♣ 4♥ 4♣ 8♣ for a pair of fours, which was no good against the K♣ 7♥ K♠ 2♣ 5♠ in jjsbryan's hand. That made pokerboy22 the 6th place finisher, earning $1,577.60.
The pace slowed for a bit after pokerboy22's departure, with nobody willing to jump too far out in front of the action and risk making a mistake. The first big confrontation came between the two biggest stacks, with DeepF going into the tank and finding a fold while facing a 192K-chip bet after the draw from devsdynamite. From there those two would tangle several more times, with DeepF taking the smaller battles and devsdynamite, after either choosing either to draw one card or stay pat, using some big-stack leverage - and the threat of elimination - to knock DeepF off of several bigger pots. Much like it had at Table 19, devsdynamite's lead grew partially because of the rest of the table's reluctance to chance missing out on a pay jump of nearly $900 from 6th place to 5th; with blinds at 5K/10K and antes of 2,500 devsdynamite held more than 1.5 million in chips while the other four players all held 250K or less.
Finally the delicate balance was broken when DeepF and devsdynamite both picked up big hands before the draw and butted heads in this heartbreaker of a hand to send DeepF home in 5th place:
That put devsdynamite even further ahead and added pressure to all three of the others at the table. On two occasions jjsbryan was facing elimination but managed to double up through the chip leader and keep pace with the other short stacks. Then jjsbryan caught a break and sent the tournament toward its conclusion. With vinicius007 all-in for just over three big blinds in 4th place and drawing one card, jjsbryan took three cards and QcKimo also drew three. The draw gave jjsbryan 9♥ T♦ A♦ A♣ A♥ for trip aces and helped him get another 30K from QcKimo, who held K♥ K♦ 2♥ 4♣ K♣ for three kings, on the last betting round. Unable to top three aces, vinicius007 mucked and took home the 4th place prize of $3,433.60.
The final three players once again fell into a rhythm where they were exchanging chips and looking for spots to get some chips in the middle. That continued until devsdynamite opened the betting on the button with a raise to 36,000. QcKimo called the bet before jjsbryan raised all-in for 122,266 total, enough to chase QcKimo and get a call from devsdynamite. Both players drew three cards. It was 2♥ 8♦ K♥ 7♥ K♠ - a pair of kings with an eight kicker - for jjsbryan, but devsdynamite's 9♥ 2♠ K♣ 9♣ Kd] was better for two pair, kings and nines. That left jjsbryan the 3rd place finisher, good for $4,988.
QcKimo got to the heads-up battle by picking good opportunities all tournament long, and the Canadian did manage to pick up a few pots in the early hands and gain some traction. But uphill battles are never easy, and it wasn't long before devsdynamite regained the momentum and had QcKimo against the ropes. The knockout blow came on this hand:
With the last hand complete, devsdynamite was the winner of $8,978.40 and a SCOOP champion's watch. QcKimo, meanwhile, collected $6,658.40 for 2nd place - not bad for a day of anging around the top of the leaderboard.
SCOOP Event #6-M $109 Pot Limit Five Card Draw Results
1st place: devsdynamite ($8,978.40)
2nd place: QcKimo ($6,658.40)
3rd place: jjsbryan ($4,988.00)
4th place: vinicius ($3,433.60)
5th place: DeepF ($2,459.20)
6th place: pokerboy22 ($1,577.60)
Congratulations to devsdynamite on the SCOOP win, and to all the final tablists for a tournament well played. Be sure to catch up with all the latest news over at the main SCOOP page, and to check out the new PokerStars daily web show, Inside SCOOP.