Heads-up poker continues to be a popular format and there is a small, talented group of players who play in the nosebleed stakes. The heads-up cash tables draw big crowds when the money is flying but the SCOOP $25,000 Heads-Up High Roller pulled them into the tournament arena offering up some big money for winning a handful of matches.
The heads-up wizards put up their money to create an allstar field and one of those specialists, Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky, won four consecutive matches to earn his second SCOOP heads-up title. He went up against DANMERRRRRRR, Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk, donthnrmepls, and alimounda and beat them all.
Sulsky was one of 16 players to enter the tournament for an even number of matches with no one getting a bye in the first round. We found Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi, Dan “w00ki3z.” Cates, and Isaac “philivey269” Haxton in the field to make for some tough first round matches.
Sulsky was the first to advance and was soon set up with heads-up nemesis Polk in the second round to move onto the money round. The other matches finished at a pretty standard pace but $5K Heads Up regular donthnrmepls and asimovs seemed to enjoy each other’s company. The two went back and forth for three long hours before donthnrmepls won the marathon to advance one level.
Road to the Final Four
donthnrmepls versus OtB_RedBaron
Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk versus Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky
Ben “Ben86” Tollerene versus bambooeater
Isaac “philivey269” Haxton versus alimounda
The second round was the one for the money. Eight players, four matches, and each winner would advance into the final four and lock up at least a min-cash of $60,000. This would also be the last match of the day for these players with them returning for Day 2 guaranteed some cash.
The match between Sulsky and Polk to reach the semi-finals could have been another marathon with their heads-up history. Instead, the match lasted only 22 hands before Polk got it in with nine-high 9♥5♥ and the board reading A♠K♠8♥A♦Q♠. Sulsky called with 10♠9♠ for the flushy advance to Day 2 and in the money.
donthnrmepls was the next to make into the semis after he defeated defending SCOOP 2016 High Roller Heads-Up champ (as well as WCOOP 2014 $10,000 Heads-Up winner) OtB_RedBaron. They also decided their final hand after the board was complete with OtB_RedBaron’s turned two pair Q♣9♠ no good against donthnrmepls’ turned straight 10♠8♠ on the Q♠J♦3♠9♥5♣ board.
Ben “Ben86” Tollerene’s win over 2016 WCOOP $10,300 Heads Up champ bambooeater was a little more traditional. Tollerene wore bambooeater down to a short stack and all in with bambooeater’s 10♥5♠ against J♣8♣. He flopped top pair when it came 10♠7♦3♣ but Tollerene turned the gutshot 9♥ to win the match.
The final four was set when alimounda defeated Haxton after a nice flop. Haxton was all in for a double up with J♣J♦ against A♥J♥ but saw the virtual dealer spread the unfortunate A♣Q♠4♦ board. The high roller veteran picked up four chop outs on the K♥ turn but was sent out after the 3♥ river.
The four remaining players were in the money and earned a 19-hour break before playing down to a champion.
Battle of the Bens for the title?
donthnrmepls versus Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky
Ben “Ben86” Tollerene versus alimounda
Sulsky and Tollerene were the two biggest names remaining and they were on opposite sides of the bracket to set up a potentional battle between the two Bens for the title. That thought went out the door pretty quickly.
alimounda was the first to finish off his semi-final match and Tollerene was eliminated after an hour of fluctuating stacks. Tollerene made one bounce back, thanks to his nut flush against the alimounda’s nut low flush, but that was as close as the SCOOP 2013 High Roller Heads-Up champ would get.
The final hand saw both players flop big on the K♠J♦9♥ board and get all the chips involved after the 2♣ turn. Tollerene flopped top two with K♥J♣ but alimounda did it better with the king-high straight Q♦10♦. Tollerene was unable to build a boat on the river to exit in fourth place.
The other match was a much more deliberate affair with Sulsky and donthnrmepls near dead even two hours into their battle. Both players had their time with a big chip lead but the last swing went Sulsky’s way before it was settled. The final hand made it all the way to the river with board reading 8♥5♥4♣2♣9♥ and Sulsky letting donthnrmepls do all the work on each street.
donthnrmepls put his last 8,213 on the river with turned two pair 5♠2♠ but Sulsky was sitting pretty with a flopped straight 7♠6♥ that only got better on the river. donthnrmepls hit the rail in third place to set up the final match nearly two hours after alimounda wrapped up his match.
Sulsky defeats donthnrmepls; earns second SCOOP
Unlike the previous three-hour match, the final was complete after 30 minutes of action. There were few major pots until the end before Sulsky took a huge hand, then finished it off.
The biggest pot of the match saw four bets in the pot before the K♥6♣3♦ flop. Both players checked and alimounda fired 1,999 after the 8♦ turn. Sulsky raised it up to 5,800 total and alimounda called to the 2♥ river. Sulsky moved all in for 13,635 and won the hand without a showdown. It was a pot worth 16,648 and it slid to Sulsky’s side for a commanding lead.
alimounda did not win another pot in the tournament and Sulsky wrappped it up eight hands later. After a 8♠6♦4♣ flop, alimounda pulled a check/raise all in with flopped top pair 8♥7♦ but he was outkicked by Sulsky’s Q♦8♣. The 9♣ turn gave alimounda 11 game-saving outs but he missed the A♦ river for a runner-up finish.
He earned a cool $100,000 for the showing after conquering two tough opponents, Haxton and Tollerene, on his way to the final match. For his time, Sulsky earned $180,000 and finished the day with his second SCOOP heads-up title.
SCOOP-26-H ($25,000 Heads-Up, High Roller) results
Total prize pool: $400,000
Places paid: 4
1. Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (Canada) $180,000
2. alimounda (Greece) $100,000
3. donthnrmepls (Germany) $60,000
4. Ben “Ben86” Tollerene (Canada) $60,000