PokerStars went for the record books this weekend--the Guiness Book of World Records to be precise, putting together the largest poker tournament in history--a 35,000 player, $10+1 buy-in event with a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000. Selling out days before cards ever went on the screen, the capped starting field hit the felt at 4:30 pm EST and a whopping 8,750 of them hit the money less than three hours later. With a tournament of this gargantuan size, would it surprise you that eighty players were lost during hand-for-hand play on the bubble as the action on 876 tables played out?
As we reached the final table of ten, the stack sizes looked like this:
Seat 1: Goldman007 (9,863,968 in chips)
Seat 2: gustave44 (11,654,326 in chips)
Seat 3: stan34powa (11,516,965 in chips)
Seat 4: Nekochan48 (8,822,692 in chips)
Seat 5: alepolice (9,373,489 in chips)
Seat 6: meiky777 (20,884,333 in chips)
Seat 7: FuFish (6,384,140 in chips)
Seat 8: n0ideahh (7,239,435 in chips)
Seat 9: rumred14 (4,506,500 in chips)
Seat 10: ONE_TIMEE (14,754,152 in chips)
FuFish, who was being cheered on by an enthusiastic bunch of railbirds, was unfortunately the first to be eliminated from the final table. With the blinds at 250,000/500,000 with a 62,500 ante, gustave44 opened for a raise to 1.5 million from middle position, FuFush moved all in for 5.75 million and gustave44 made the call, turning up Kh-Qs to FuFish's pocket sevens. With a king on the flop and a queen on the river, the overcards outran the underpair and FuFish finished in 10th place, good for $1,500.
Next to exit was ONE_TIMEE, who fell to Goldman007 on a blind vs. blind hand. After open-shoving from the small blind for 6.2 million and getting a call from Goldman007 in the big, ONE_TIMEE was no doubt verbalizing the clarion call of his screen name as he awaited the flop, his Kd-9s trailing Goldman007's Ks-Js. The flop, though, was Jc-7h-2c, making top pair for Goldman007 and ONE_TIMEE could not catch running cards to improve, ending his long day of poker with an extra $2,000 in his account for his 9th place finish.
After a much-deserved break, the final eight returned to blinds of 500,000/1,000,000 and an ante of 125,000. Stacks were shallow, with the average stack at that point at about 13 big blinds. Even dominant chip leader meiky77 only had 32 big blinds. This action was going to move fast.
Seated under the gun and facing the 1,000,000 big blind on the next hand, alepolice pushed in for 1.6 million. Meiky777 flat-called from UTG+1 and the action folded around to stan34powa, who moved all in for 9.9 million from the small blind. Neckochan48 gave up his big blind and meiky777 mucked as well, leaving their two opponents heads-up. Alepolice's Ks-9s was dominated by Nekochan48's Ac-Kc and he could not improve, hitting the rail in 8th place for $2,500.
Four hands later, stan34powa opened for 2.75 million and n0ideahh made his stand, moving in for 3.1 million with Qd-Js. Stan34powa called the additional 385,000 with pocket sevens and they held up to send off n0ideahh in 7th place. Two hands after that, Nekochan48 curiously limped in from UTG and the action folded around to gustave44 in the small blind. He moved all in for 19.6 million only to have stan34powa move all in for 19.9 million from the big blind. Nekochan48 got out of the way and the cards were turned up, gustave44's Ad-Ts trailing stan34powa's Qc-Qs. The flop was a tantalizing As-Ks-2s, gustave44 flopping top pair but stan34powa still in it with the nut flush draw. The turn was the 2d, but the river was the 3s, making both players a flush, stan34powa's the higher one as gustave44 exited in 6th place.
Rumred14 started talks of a chop once play became five-handed, but no one was ready to talk deals yet. He'd be the next player to get action, moving all in pre-flop for his remaining 9.1 million and earning a call from Nekochan48 in the big blind, who had him slightly covered. It was a race situation, Nekochan48 holding pocket sixes and rumred14 the Ad-Ks. The board ran out As-8c-3d-Tc-Jd and rumred14 doubled up, crippling Nekochan48 to only 585,209, all of which was posted in the small blind on the next hand. Nekochan48's 4d-Ts could not improve against rumred14's Ah-Td and he was eliminated in 5th place, collecting $7,500.
A dozen unanswered open-pushes later, meiky777 opened for 6 million with blinds of 750,000/1.5 million. Goldman007 reraised to 10.5 million and meiky777 four-bet to 15 million, setting Goldman007 all in. He quickly called and turned up As-Ac to meiky777's Ah-4h. Though Goldman007 was in one of the best pre-flop situations a player can be in when it comes to hold'em, the flop opened doors for meiky777, coming down 6s-3h-2s. The turn was the Kh, but the river was the disastrous 5d, making meiky777 a six-high straight and bouncing a very unlucky Goldman777 from the tournament in 4th place. Though he came out on the wrong end of that hand, he still managed to turn $11 into $10,000 in the space of eight hours.
Rumred14 asked about a chop again when play was three-handed and the chip counts had evened up. Once again, his suggestions were met with silence from his opponents. Only a few minutes later, rumred14 called meiky777's 3 million opening raise and they saw a flop of Th-8s-7s. With rumred14 holding Qs-Js for straight and flush draws and meiky777 with 7c-8c for bottom two, it was inevitable that the money would go in the middle. The turn, though was the 8h, making meiky777 eights full of sevens and leaving rumred14 drawing dead. Rumred14 took home $15,000 for a stellar performance.
As heads-up play kicked off between meiky777 and stan34powa, the chip counts looked like this:
Seat 3: stan34powa (37,213,054 in chips)
Seat 6: meiky777 (67,786,946 in chips)
After all the open-shoving that marked most of the play at the final table, the 57-hand heads-up battle was a real back-and-forth chess match, with the lead constantly swinging back and forth between our final two players. Stan34powa wrestled the lead away from meiky777 when he made kings and fives against meiky777's sevens and sixes, but meiky777 took it back just as quickly after stan34powa attempted a river bluff with ace high and meiky777 called him with two pair. The pendulum kept swinging, with neither player taking more than a 7-3 chip lead, until this hand came up:
Meiky777 limped in from the small blind and stan34powa checked. The flop was 8h-5s-3s and stan34powa checked to meiky777, who bet 2.5 million. Stan34powa raised to 7.5 million and meiky777 shoved over the top for 31.2 million. Stan34powa called, having meiky777 covered and the hands were revealed--stan34powa with 2d-8d for top pair and meiky777 looking to improve with Ac-Kd. The turn, though was the Js, the river was the 7s and it was all over. Stan34powa had outlasted 34,999 opponents to win the world's largest-ever poker tournament and $30,000 for his performance. Runner-up meiky777 added $20,000 to his bankroll.
With no deals made, here's how the final table finished up:
Guinness World Record Attempt $500,000 Guaranteed
1. stan34powa $30,000
2. meiky777 $20,000
3. rumred14 $15,000
4. Goldman007 $10,000
5. Nekochan48 $7,500
6. gustave44 $5,000
7. n0ideahh $3,500
8. alepolice $2,500
9. ONE_TIMEE $2,000
10. FuFish $1,500