The nine who made this week’s Super Tuesday final table on PokerStars were playing from nine different countries — Argentina, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Slovenia — not atypical for the weekly $1,050 no-limit hold’em contest that routinely attracts online poker’s best players from all over the globe.
Those nine fought gamely, with a heads-up battle lasting over an hour concluding the night. When the last hand was dealt it was the Argentinian, Javiér “rasta25″ Venegas, claiming the final pot and the week’s first prize of $101,840. Here’s the story of how Venegas did it.
It would take right at five-and-a-half hours for the field to play down to 63 and the money bubble to burst, at which point Mohsin “sms9231” Charania led the way.
About two hours later they were down to 18, with Charania down to a short stack and Willy “Wilmy_x” Arandazi the new chip leader. Jeff “kidwhowon” Gross was also still in the mix with an average stack, having been sharing his deep run with his Twitch followers all day and night.
Joaquin “elmelogno4” Melogno was the next out in 18th, with Charania following him to the rail in 17th and PreyOnDaLine in 16th. Those three each earned $4,288 for their finishes.
Next it was recent Sunday Million winner Damianos “damourinio” Aslanidis (12th), Oscar “KungKroon” Kroon (11th), and Phil “Grindation” McAllister (10th) hitting the rail, with that trio cashing for $6,432 apiece.
Seat 1: Secret_M0d3 (Slovenia) — 552,974
Seat 2: Javiér “rasta25″ Venegas (Argentina) — 217,734
Seat 3: Breixo “Palomobuchón” Gonzalez (Czech Republic) — 492,710
Seat 4: Sergi “srxakgirona” Reixach (Mexico) — 71,103
Seat 5: Jeff “kidwhowon” Gross (Canada) — 196,389
Seat 6: wilywonka10 (Slovakia) — 115,906
Seat 7: Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer (Germany) — 271,169
Seat 8: Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (Austria) — 494,015
Seat 9: Graftekkel (Netherlands) — 268,000
A few orbits went by, then with the blinds at 4,000/8,000 it was Sergi “srxakgirona” Reixach open-pushing for 116,806 from the hijack seat, then wilywonka10 three-bet shoving for about three times that stack from the button, forcing folds from both blinds. Reixach had A♣J♥ and was behind wilywonda10’s A♦Q♦, and five cards later — 5♣6♥3♦8♣Q♥ — Reixach was on the rail in ninth.
About 15 minutes after that Secret_M0d3 min-raised to 18,000 from under the gun, and after Jeff “kidwhowon” Gross reraised all-in for his last 92,589 it folded back around to the chip leader who thought a short while before calling.
Secret_M0d3 had A♠6♠ while Gross had 10♣10♥, and the latter was still ahead after the 6♦Q♦J♠ flop and Q♠ turn. But the 2♠ river made a flush for Secret_M0d3, knocking out Gross in eighth for about 12 “sandbags” (as he refers to thousand-dollar bundles on his Twitch stream).
Gonzalez called, having Q♦Q♥ this time while Secret_M0d3 was the one with J♦J♣. The K♠9♣Q♠8♥2♥ runout gave Gonzalez a set and left Secret_M0d3 unimproved and out in seventh.
A while after that wilywonka10 raised 2x to 28,000 from early position, Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer made it 76,145 to go from the next seat over, wilywonka10 shoved for 315,999 total, and Höfer called.
wilywonka10 had A♦J♠ but had run into Höfer’s A♠A♣. The board went 8♣K♠Q♥A♥6♠, giving Höfer the pot and stopping wilywonka10 in sixth.
A little over five minutes later Benny “toweliestar” Spindler min-raised to 28,000 from UTG and was called by Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer in the big blind. The flop came 5♦3♦10♥, Höfer checked, Spindler continued for 30,000, Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer check-raised all-in, and Spindler called off the 163,120 he had left.
Spindler showed A♥A♠ this time for the overpair, but Höfer had flopped two pair with his 5♥3♥. The turn and river — K♠, then Q♣ — didn’t help Spindler, and the EPT8 London Main Event champion fell in fifth.
The river was the Q♣. Gonzalez checked a third time, and after Höfer shoved all-in, Gonzalez called wiht the 551,347 he had left, turning over A♣K♦ for the three sixes on the board plus his two kickers. But Höfer had Q♠9♦ for sixes full of queens, and Gonzalez — who just won the Super Tuesday in January — was done in fourth.
With Höfer now well in front the blinds moved up to 9,000/18,000 when Höfer limped in from the small blind, Graftekkel raised to 63,000 from the big, Höfer shoved, and Graftekkel called all-in with the 247,439 behind.
Höfer had K♣Q♦ while Graftekkel was hoping 8♥8♠ would hold. The 9♠Q♠6♣ flop then swung the edge Höfer’s way, and after the J♥ turn and 5♠ river, Graftekkel’s run had ended in third.
With that pot Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer had 1,905,421 to enjoy a big lead over the 774,579 of Javiér “rasta25″ Venegas to start heads-up play.
The pair played about 15 minutes to reach the tournament’s 11-hour mark, with Höfer still comfortably in front. Over the next half-hour Venegas gradually began chipping back, then Höfer won a big one to move back close to 2 million.
Then came a hand in which the pair battled to the river where Höfer made a bold all-in raise with queen-high and Venegas called with two pair, pushing him up over 1.8 million and into the lead. Finally — about an hour and 10 minutes after the heads-up duel had begun, and nearly 12 hours since the tournament had begun — the final hand took place.
It started with a min-raise to 70,000 by Höfer, with Venegas responding with a three-bet to 159,999. Höfer called, and the flop came 8♥6♣2♣. Venegas fired a 139,999 continuation bet, Höfer called, and the pair watched the turn bring the Q♥. This time Venegas checked, and when Höfer pushed all-in with his last 594,889, Venegas called right away.
Höfer had J♥10♥ for a heart flush draw plus a gutshot while Venegas had turned two pair with Q♣8♠. The river then brought the 10♠ and it was all over — Venegas had won.
Congratulations to Javiér “rasta25″ Venegas who after making multiple Latin American Poker Tour final tables managed to top this week’s tough Super Tuesday field and a talented, international final table to earn a handsome six-figure payday.
1. Javiér “rasta25″ Venegas (Argentina)
2. Paul “_pauL€FauL_” Höfer (Germany)
3. Graftekkel (Netherlands) $54,940.00
4. Breixo “Palomobuchón” Gonzalez (Czech Republic) $41,808.00
5. Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (Austria) $29,480.00
6. wilywonka10 (Slovakia) $22,780.00
7. Secret_M0d3 (Slovenia) $17,420.00
8. Jeff “kidwhowon” Gross (Canada) $12,060.00
9. Sergi “srxakgirona” Reixach (Mexico) $8,897.60
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.