How big can it get? That's the question many are presently wondering as the Super Tuesday, PokerStars' weekly $1,050 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament, continues to draw 500-plus player fields and build bigger than half-million dollar prize pools. This week was no exception, with 542 players participating, and a relatively big name in online poker took the title as Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet prevailed to earn the $102,980 first prize.
Tonight marked the fifth time in two months that more than 500 players played in the Super Tuesday, with the smallest turnout being 489 since mid-October. The $542,000 prize pool again smashed the $300K guarantee, with the top 63 finishers making the cash.
From 542 to 63
After four-and-a-half hours the field had shrunk below 100 players, with jus2awsum having grabbed the top spot in the counts as the only player with more than 100,000 chips.
Team PokerStars Pro Maxim Lykov was among those still fighting to make the cash at that point. Alas for Lykov, on the last hand before the five-hour break he'd fall in 70th place in a hand that saw him all in on the turn holding A♠K♣ on a T♦T♣A♦K♥ board and up against hnidel's A♥J♦. The river then brought the Q♣ to fill hnidel's straight and send the Russian to the rail.
It would take another half-hour for the cash bubble to burst, and with 63 players left soydelmillo had risen to the top of the counts, with mendieta19, Mike "munchenHB" Telker, slaventii009, and Lykov-vanquisher hnidel not far behind.
From 63 to 9
Two hours after that they'd played down to the final nine, with jus2awsum (47th, $2,547.40), slaventii009 (36th, $2,981), mendieta19 (27th, $3,252), and soydelmillo (15th, $5,420) among those coming up shy of the final table.
Other notables cashing along the way included McLean "PureProfitFo" Karr (63rd, $2,384.80), Jack "jackellwood" Ellwod (58th, $2,384.80), Joao Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten (48th, $2,547.40), Steve "mcnalleyville" McNally (37th, $2,710), Mike "Gags30" Gagliano (34th, $2,981), Luke "lb6121" Schwartz (28th, $2,981), Dani "supernova9" Stern (22nd, $3,252), Paul "paulgees81" Volpe (20th, $3,252), Jon "LUFCBas" Spinks (13th, $5,420), Griffin "Flush_Entity" Benger (12th, $6,504), and Mayu "marroca5" Roca Uribe (10th, $6,504).
Here's how the final table looked just before the first hand was dealt:
Seat 1: NeoForastero (Mexico) -- 176486 in chips)
Seat 2: Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet (Canada) -- 352,646
Seat 3: Ranil (Norway) -- 166,437
Seat 4: Mike "munchenHB" Telker (Cyprus) -- 504,314
Seat 5: jays94 (Canada) -- 61,663
Seat 6: Pimmss (Netherlands) -- 171,430
Seat 7: gambler6868 (Cyprus) -- 436,752
Seat 8: Die Ventura (Peru) -- 261,484
Seat 9: hnidel (Czech Republic) -- 578,788
From 9 to 6
It would take 15 minutes before anyone was eliminated from the final table, then came two knockouts in successive hands.
In the first, the blinds were 2,400/4,800 when Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet raised to 9,840 from the hijack seat, Ranil reraised to 24,000 from a seat over, then Mike "munchenHB" Telker pushed it up to 47,340 from the button. It folded back to Van Fleet who stepped aside, but Ranil shoved all in for 181,647 and Telker quickly called.
Ranil had A♣Q♦, but needed help versus munchenHB's Q♠Q♥. The board came 2♠T♥J♥6♣4♥, and Ranil was out in ninth.
The following hand saw hnidel raising to 9,600 from early position, then jays94 reraising all in from the button for 61,463. It folded to gambler6868 in the big blind who pushed all in over the top, forcing hnidel to fold.
jays94 turned over T♣T♠ and gambler6868 J♦J♣. The flop came K♦J♠3♠ to improve gambler6868 to a set, and by the 7♣ turn there was no river that could save jays94 who was eliminated in eighth.
The next knockout wouldn't come for another half-hour. By then the blinds were 3,200/6,400, and when Die Ventura opened for 13,504 from UTG+1, Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet reraised to 31,254 from the button. The blinds got out, Die Ventura reraised all in for 174,697 total, and Van Fleet called.
Die Ventura: 7♦7♣
The flop came A♦2♣K♣, pairing Van Fleet twice. The turn was the 5♠ and river the 8♦, and they were down to six.
From 6 to 2
Just four hands after Die Ventura's elimination, hnidel min-raised to 12,800 from middle position, then NeoForastero jammed from a seat over for 96,886 and hnidel called the shove. NeoForastero had A♠3♥ and hnidel T♣T♥, and five cards later -- 6♠5♠5♥K♦8♠ -- hnidel's tens were best and NeoForastero was out in sixth.
The remaining five reached the nine-hour break, at which point hnidel led with just over 860,000, with apestyles next with about 638,000, munchenHB third with just over 572,000, gambler6868 fourth with just under 485,000, and Pimmss the short stack with about 154,000.
About 10 minutes after play resumed, Pimmss would shove all in from under the gun for 105,983 (a little over 13 big blinds) and get one caller in hnidel from the button. Pimmss had A♥K♠ and hnidel T♣T♠.
The flop brought a king, but a ten as well, coming K♣8♥T♦. The turn was the A♠ and the river the Q♠, and hnidel's set beat Pimmss's two pair, sending the latter out in fifth.
The four who were left played on for nearly 30 minutes more, with the stacks evening out and then munchenHB pushing in front to assume the lead. Then a hand arose in which hnidel raised 2x from the button to 20,000, then Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet reraised to 52,550 from the small blind. It folded back to hnidel who pushed for 488,376 total, and Van Fleet called.
It was A♥8♣ for hnidel and A♦K♥ for apestyles, and when the community cards came J♦K♦7♦T♣K♣, Van Fleet had trips and hnidel was on the rail in fourth.
They reached the last hand before the 10-hour break, with Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet now leading with 1.42 million, gambler6868 next with 758,000, and Mike "munchenHB" Telker third with 526,335.
In that hand, the latter two players got involved in a big pot that saw gambler6868 raising all in on the turn with the board showing J♠7♥A♥Q♥ and Telker tanking a while before calling. gambler6868 had Q♠J♥ for two pair and a heart flush draw, while Telker had the straight with K♣T♦, and Telker's hand held through the river. Take a look:
That hand reduced gambler6868 to short-stacked status, relatively speaking, and 10 minutes after play resumed those chips would be put at risk. With the blinds 7,000/14,000, gambler6868 raised to 49,000 from the button, apestyles reraised from the small blind to 92,000, munchenHB folded, and gambler6868 pushed all in for 223,695 total.
Van Fleet swiftly called, showing Q♣Q♥ to gambler6868's 3♣3♦. Then the flop came 7♣Q♠4♣ to give apestyles a set. The turn was the 6♥, meaning gambler6868 could still make a straight, but the river was the J♥ and they were down to two.
Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet had the edge to begin heads-up play with 1,512,945 to Mike "munchenHB" Telker's 1,197,055.
The pair would ultimately battle for about 50 minutes more before a winner was determined. During the first half-hour of their duel, Telker closed the gap and the two were even for a short time. But Van Fleet nudged back in front, then grabbed a couple of large pots in quick succession to assume a better than 3-to-1 chip lead.
By the time they reached the tourney's 11-hour mark, Van Fleet was sitting with 2,140,200 to Telker's 569,800. munchenHB would grab a nearly 450,000-chip pot on the first hand back from the break, then a half-dozen minor hands passed before the final hand of the tournament arrived.
With the blinds 10,000/20,000, munchenHB raised to 40,000 from the button and apestyles called. The flop came Q♦4♥9♦ and Van Fleet checked. Telker bet 53,220, and Van Fleet called. The turn brought the 8♣ and another check from apestyles, and once more munchenHB bet -- 123,500 this time -- and again came the call.
The river was the 6♦. Van Fleet checked one more time, and when Telker pushed all in for 505,380, Van Fleet called in a flash. Telker had A♣Q♠ for top pair of queens, but Van Fleet -- partly evoking Johnny Chan and Rounders -- was check-calling with a straight as he had J♥T♠.
Congratulations to Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet for topping yet another big Super Tuesday field to grab himself yet another big online score, this one worth six figures!
12/11/12 Super Tuesday final table results:
1st: Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet (Canada) -- $102,980.00
2nd: Mike "munchenHB" Telker (Cyprus) -- $75,880.00
3rd: gambler6868 (Cyprus) -- $55,555.00
4th: hnidel (Czech Republic) -- $42,276.00
5th: Pimmss (Netherlands) -- $29,810.00
6th: NeoForastero (Mexico) -- $23,035.00
7th: Die Ventura (Peru) -- $17,615.00
8th: jays94 (Canada) -- $12,195.00
9th: Ranil (Norway) -- $8,997.20
Prize pool: $542,000.00
Places paid: 63
EPT Prague marches on this week, with the Main Event well underway. Follow the coverage on the PokerStars blog here.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.