Limit Hold’em tournaments are a special breed of poker these days. They were the norm back in the olden golden days but were quickly overshadowed by its No Limit brother. Event #36 on the 2016 SCOOP schedule was a “min-betting championship” with a 6-max format and the $2,000 buy-in version of the tournament drew an impressive lineup of top players. It was a long, tough battle and bartek901 was the last player standing to take home top honor.
The tournament saw 104 players put up a piece of their bankroll and they had three additional re-entry options should they limit bet their stack all the way down. With 69 re-entries into the game, the prize pool grew to $346,000 with $83,000 reserved for the eventual winner.
The tournament was paused at the end of Level 16 to take an overnight break with 26 players still holding stacks for the return. bartek901 finished Day 1 with the chip lead but a tough group of players trying to run him down including Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah, Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen, Brian “tsarrast” Rast, Shaun Deeb, Bryn Kenney, Connor “blanconegro” Drinan, and Team PokerStars member Jason Mercier.
bartek901 was looking for his first COOP title though he does have some nice results of his own. He earned $150,000 for a third place finish in the 2015 Super Tuesday Special Edition event and another $65,000 for a regular Super Tuesday runner-up finish to run up his career online tournament total over $1.5 million.
With 26 players returning and only 24 getting paid, they had a little work to do at the restart. The first step was to get into the money, then advance further up the payout ladder to the final table and a COOP title. It didn’t take long for them to get there thanks to Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah.
Connor “blanconegro” Drinan was the second smallest stack at the restart and was dealt K♦K♠ on the first hand back. It didn’t end well for him as Leah tracked down the kings and cracked them with a rivered flush holding J♠3♠. That put the field on the money bubble and it burst three hands later when Leah knocked out MyJewishWife in 25th with Q♣5♦ beating 9♥8♥.
Besides superstar Jason Mercier making yet another final table, there were two other past SCOOP champions sitting around him. jama-dharma picked up a SCOOP title back in the fun times of 2010 while Bluf_To_Much won his SCOOP title last year in the medium HORSE event. One missing player was early leader Mike Leah, he went out in a blaze of glory in 11th place but don’t shed a tear for him. Leah went on to capture the title in the low version of this event.
Seat 1: Azrarn – 254,570
Seat 2: jama-dharma – 158,160
Seat 3: chess87 – 316,185
Seat 4: Bluf_To_Much – 371,185
Seat 5: bartek901 – 379,430
Seat 6: Jason Mercier – 250,470
Mercier and Azrarn pull big pots
Limit action is obviously limited to bet/raise/call/fold etc etc etc so it lacks the spectator excitement of No Limit. The knockout hands usually aren’t the biggest, more likely only finishing off a player after losing along the way. Jason Mercier and Azrarn began the final table by winning two 150,000 chip pots to set themselves nicely for a possible title.
Mercier earned his with a hand that was three-bet against bartek901 to the 5♣4♥3♦ flop. They put two small bets in before the Q♦ turn and four big bets before the Q♣ river. bartek901 check/called one last bet to see Mercier table 4♣4♠ for the full house winner.
Azrarn’s pot was built with other players, there were three bets in the middle before he saw the K♣5♦3♥ flop against jama-dharma and bartek901. One bet each went in on the flop and another after the 4♥ turn. Azrarn pulled the ol’ river check/raise after the 2♣ hit to get a “ffs” from jama-dharma, but he also got the call. He was good with A♦6♦ for the six-high straight and his 150,000 pot.
Seat 1: Azrarn – 354,570
Seat 2: jama-dharma – 118,160
Seat 3: chess87 – 296,185
Seat 4: Bluf_To_Much – 371,185
Seat 5: bartek901 – 226,930
Seat 6: Jason Mercier – 362,970
jama-dharma ground down, eliminated in 6th
The first knockout on the final table came after jama-dharma saw his stack slowly drop into the danger zone, then he let himself get under one small bet. After action folded to him, he called all-in from the small blind to give Bluf_To_Much a small rebate on his big.
jama-dharma tried to start his comeback with A♣2♦ but he was unlucky to run into A♠8♦. He never caught up on the Q♦7♠5♠A♥3♦ board to exit in 6th place with a long long ways to go.
Mercier shown no mercy, eliminated in 5th
Jason Mercier had little luck in the latter parts of the tournament and found himself hovering around the ten big bet line while others were running up their stacks. He was under 40,000 with the limits at 12,000/24,000 and tossed in a third bet from the big blind against Bluf_To_Much before the 8♦5♠2♠ flop.
Mercier put in his last 3,915 with J♠6♦ and Bluf_To_Much called with Q♠7♦. The 7♠ turn paired for Bluf_To_Much and the three-time WSOP champion Mercier was gone in 5th place after the 10♥ river did nothing to improve his hand.
The steadily-rising limits finally started putting a little pressure on the stack sizes and we saw some big movement between the stacks. chess87 was on the wrong side of the biggest pot so far at the final table when he went heads-up against bartek901. The German called a raise in the big blind to see the J♣8♠6♠ flop.
chess87 check/raised the flop, he was called before the Q♠ turn hit the board and he led out with another bet. bartek901 raised, chess87 put in a third big bet, and was called to the 8♣ river. It went bet/call and chess87 showed an unimproved open-ended straight draw 9♠7♥, nowhere near good enough to beat bartek901′ straight with 10♥9♦.
The hand knocked his stack down near the felt and he was gone soon after in 4th place.
Bluf_To_Much set up, eliminated in 3rd
Bluf_To_Much was the next to take a turn at the bottom of the counts as Azrarn became the first player with more than 1 million out front. He picked up 9♠9♦, a fine hand in a three-handed game, and capped the betting with bartek901 before the Q♠7♠3♦ flop.
Three more bets and Bluf_To_Much was all-in to see he was badly out-flopped by 3♠3♥. Bluf_To_Much couldn’t find a saving card on the A♣ turn or 10♦ river to go out in 3rd place for $43,250.
Seat 1: Azrarn – 1,047,680
Seat 5: bartek901 – 682,320
bartek901 battles back to win Event #36-M title
Azrarn took a nice lead into heads-up play but bartek901 quickly fought back to take the advantage. He added 384,000 to his stack with a rivered flush holding 10♥9♥ then picked up another 256,000 with a single pair of queens.
Azrarn didn’t give up without a fight and was able to pull back even before he lost traction. bartek901 won a 480,000 pot with a turned straight holding 10♠9♣ and another 320,000 with a showdown on a Q♠5♠2♦Q♦10♦ board. One hand later and bartek901 put Azrarn all-in after the Q♦9♠5♥ flop.
bartek901 was holding ace-high A♣2♣ but was ahead of Azrarn’s K♦10♦. The Q♣ turn and 7♦ river changed nothing and the comeback was complete for bartek901. Azrarn fell short of earning his first major title but the $57,263 for second place will be a nice consolation prize.
bartek901 played a great final table and eliminated some tough opponents along the way to capture the $2,100 FL Hold’em 6-Max title and $83,040.
SCOOP-36-H ($2,100 FL Hold’em 6-Max) results
Entrants: 173 (104 entries, 69 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $346,000
Places paid: 24
1. bartek901 (Mexico) $83,040.00
2. Azrarn (Belarus) $57,263.00
3. Bluf_To_Much (Moldova) $43,250.00
4. chess87 (Germany) $29,410.00
5. Jason Mercier (Canada) $22,490.00
6. jama-dharma (United Kingdom) $15,570.00