Volumes have been written about the virtues of taking the initiative at the poker table, but sometimes the best situations arise when the game comes to you. Lithuania’s zZero92 can attest to that after watching three players exit the final table in quick succession, making a deal, and then playing fast and loose en route to a win in Event #27-L that had appeared unlikely just an hour earlier.
Day 1 of this tournament attracted a monster field of 11,996 players, who would play 36 levels of poker before ending for the night with 50 players remaining. Before that 1,450 players collected payouts, leaving the rest of the $294,501.80 prize pool to be distributed on Day 2.
Romania’s shtefone was the chip leader overnight with 14.2 million, a 118-big-blind stack, but would be eliminated halfway through the second day. MrKloutt from Andorra was the highest-ranked player at the end of Day 1 to make the final, having started with 10.9M chips in 4th place. The rest of the players who made it through the field came from up and down the leaderboard at Day 2’s start, hanging on for just over three hours of play to reach what would prove to be a very short SCOOP final table.
Seat 1: Golaith13 (30,355,060 in chips)
Seat 2: houdini_msu (53,964,206 in chips)
Seat 3: MrKloutt (17,087,178 in chips)
Seat 4: clancywigam (70,621,164 in chips)
Seat 5: zZero92 (48,400,660 in chips)
Seat 6: amitshur2984 (19,491,732 in chips)
Boom! Boom! Boom!
At only an hour and six minutes of eventual running time, the Event #27-L final table was short even for a 6-max SCOOP tournament. That was thanks in large part to three early exits leaving the path clear for the others to make a deal.
amitshur2984 looked sure to be the first player knocked out after moving in for 17.6M over the top of houdini_msu’s 2.4M opening raise, holding 10♦ 10♥. houdini_msu called immediately with A♦ A♥ and was 86.8 percent to win the hand after the 9♠ 4♠ J♥ flop, but the 7♦ turn and 8♥ river bailed amitshur2984 out with a jack-high straight.
That left MrKloutt on the hot seat, and a few hands later the player from Andorra picked up K♥ Q♦ in the small blind. The action folded around and MrKloutt moved all-in for 14.5M, drawing a call from past Super Tuesday champion and Sunday Million finalist clancywigam, who was in the big blind with A♠ 4♥. Neither player’s hand improved on the 5♥ 8♣ 10♦ 8♠ J♠ board, and MrKloutt departed in 6th place ($3,681.27).
Four hands later clancywigam was in the big blind again, this time holding A♣ Q♥. The Irish player re-raised to 9.5M after houdini_msu opened for 3.7M in the small, and then called after houdini_msu re-raised all-in for 42.8M. houdini_msu’s A♦ J♥ needed some help but never came close to getting it as clancywigam ended up with queens full of aces once the 4♥ 7♠ A♠ Q♠ Q♦ board was complete. With that, houdini_msu disappeared in 5th place ($5,890.03).
amitshur2984 picked up another pocket pair on the next hand, this time 9♥ 9♣, and was the only caller for 24M after Golaith13 opened the betting all-in. The Dutch player’s A♥ 7♠ came close to a straight on the board but ultimately fell short, sending Golaith13 to the rail in 4th place ($11,780.07).
After just six minutes of play, the final table lineup had been cut in half:
Seat 4: clancywigam (128,378,816 in chips)
Seat 5: zZero92 (49,450,660 in chips)
Seat 6: amitshur2984 (62,090,524 in chips)
The topic of a deal came up immediately and after a few hands play was paused to talk it over. It took 14 minutes – more than twice as long as the first three knockouts had taken – but they reached an agreement based on the chip-chop numbers that gave clancywigam $33K, amitshur2984 $26K, and zZero92 $25K.
zZero92 to hero
With experience and a sizable chip lead on clancywigam’s side, the Irish player was the easy pick for the win. But the 800K/1.6M/200K blinds and antes exerted a lot less pressure with half of the players gone, and having the deal in place seemed to free the others up to play fast and loose. zZero92 in particular came out attacking after locking up the cash, re-raising to 8M out of the big blind after clancywigam had opened with a min-raise to 3.2M. clancywigam called and then both players checked the 8♣ A♠ 10♥ flop, bringing the A♥ on the turn. clancywigam called 7.2M there but folded to another 11.2M-chip bet after the 6♥ river, and zZero92 took the 32M-chip pot. clancywigam got paid on a flush for a 71M-chip pot a few hands later, but then amitshur2984 took two in a row worth a combined 78M.
zZero92 would take the biggest part of clancywigam’s stack in two pots about 10 hands apart. In the first, the Lithuanian player min-raised on the button with Q♥ 10♦, clancywigam called in the big blind with 10♣ 7♦, and both players caught top pair on the 2♠ 5♦ 10♥ flop. All the rest of zZero92’s chips went in there and the turn and river came 5♥–J♠, dropping clancywigam to a 92.6M-chip stack. The second pot, which came just after the blinds and antes went up to 1M/2M/250K, was much larger, and the action all came before the flop. clancywigam opened the betting from the small blind for 4.8M, holding K♠ Q♦, and then re-raised all-in when zZero92 made it 12M to go. zZero92 called with A♣ J♥, good for a pair of jacks and the 142M-chip pot after the board came 5♥ 6♦ J♦ 4♠ 8♣.
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Far from down and out, clancywigam won several more hands, including a coin flip with A♣ J♠ against 5♦ 5♥ to get back close to 100M chips. But zZero92 kept surviving when necessary, including a particularly close call after open-shoving with 10♥ 9♦. clancywigam called with A♥ K♥ in the big blind and watched board deliver diamonds on the flop, turn, and river of the 2♥ 4♦ Q♦ A♦ 8♦ board to give zZero92 the improbable win for 67M.
Beyond keeping zZero92 alive, that pot brought clancywigam’s stack back under 30M chips again. The territory would prove too dangerous this time around, as the Irish player eventually ended up moving all-in from the small blind with Q♥ 8♠ and seeing zZero92 call with K♥ J♣. A king on the flop sealed the deal, the board finished reading 3♦ K♠ 6♦ 3♠ 2♦, and clancywigam walked in 3rd place with the biggest share of the deal money at $33,412.82.
amitshur2984 had the advantage as heads-up play began, holding 146M chips to zZero92’s 92.9M, but soon enough the Lithuanian player had turned that around and taken control. Then came a race with a pair and two overcards, with the 4♣ 4♠ belonging to zZero92 and the A♦ 10♥ in amitshur2984’s hand. The slim favorite hit a set on the flop and dodged a straight draw after the turn to hold up on a J♦ 4♦ 9♣ K♣ 7♦ board, and the tournament came to a close.
With the extra cash for the win, zZero92 ended up with the second-largest prize of the tournament at $29,822.89, despite having the shortest stack when the deal was struck. Then there’s that whole “SCOOP title and champion’s watch” thing, which I’ve been told makes for a good icebreaker at parties. Congratulations to zZero92 for making the most of a rare opportunity!
SCOOP-27-L ($27 NL Hold’em, 6-Max) results
Total prize pool: $294,501.80
Places paid: 1,500
1. zZero92 (Lithuania) $29,822.89*
2. amitshur2984 (India) $26,591.38*
3. clancywigam (Ireland) $33,412.82*
4. Golaith13 (Netherlands) $11,780.07
5. houdini_msu (Canada) $5,890.03
6. MrKloutt (Andorra) $3,681.27
*Reflects the results of a three-way deal that left $4,000 in play for the winner