It was just a few months ago we were chatting with the young U.K. pro Charlie Carrel a few days removed from another deep tournament run by him, in that case to a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Super High Roller. Since that chat he’d collect four more final tables, including one earlier this month in the High Roller at the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®.
Among the topics we discussed was Carrel’s hot run of late, one that continued thereafter to push him up over $5.5 million in tournament winnings, collected in less than three years. He gave us a mini-education on tournament variance, confirmation bias, and how there are a huge variety of different approaches to winning at tournament poker. It was befitting of his online nickname — “Epiphany77.”
Well, the combination of good decisions and good cards has continued for Carrel, who after three long days of poker — and after starting ninth in chips among the final nine — has emerged as the winner of this year’s Spring Championship of Online Poker “High” edition of the Main Event. Not only that, it was Carrel’s second victory this SCOOP series, earning him a huge $1,200,899.97 payday following a heads-up deal with Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel who also realized a seven-figure score.
Let’s travel back to Sunday and consider some of the highlights of this one. We won’t purport to explain how Carrel did it, but can at least offer some particulars from his journey to another massive tournament score.
Day 1 (from 693 to 102)
It took not even two-and-a-half hours on Sunday for the field to increase beyond 500 players, meaning the event’s $5M guarantee would be easily surpassed. Jason “jakoon1985” Koon (winner of that PSC Bahamas Super High Roller mentioned above) enjoyed the chip lead in the early going, with Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche moving ahead of him in the counts for a time during the third hour.
When late registration window finally shut tight there were 693 entries all told, with 574 uniques and 119 re-entries. That meant a $6,930,000 prize pool with 80 places paid and an enormous pre-deal top prize scheduled of more than $1.35 million that well exceeded the $1M guarantee for first.
By then — six hours into the event — less than 400 players remained with girafganger7 having moved into first position. Later, as the day neared its close, Andras “probirs” Nemeth enjoyed the chip lead for a while before returning to the pack.
Then at the close of play it was Jordan “JWPRODIGY” Westmorland surging ahead to be the only player among the 102 making it through Day 1 to end the night with more than 1 million chips — nearly 1.25 million, in fact, and just over 400,000 ahead of nearest challenger Sasuke234.
Day 2 (from 102 to 9)
It didn’t take long on Monday for the field to be carved down to 80 players and the money bubble to burst, and it wasn’t long after that xJensMx moved up into the chip lead just ahead of Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden who was just a few days removed from a victory in Event #41-H ($5,200 NLHE 8-Max).
As the afternoon wore on and the field was chopped down to 40 players, Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams moved up into first place ahead of Dani “supernova9” Stern and Jordan “JWPRODIGY” Westmorland.
Meanwhile two Team PokerStars Pros were among the early cashers. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier — fresh off his 12th-place finish in the Main Event at PSC Monte-Carlo — made it to 70th place. And Andre Akkari got a little further, finishing in 55th where like ElkY he earned $23,326.38 for his finish.
As day turned to night they got down to three tables, with Conor “1_conor_b_1” Beresford (36th), Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (33rd), PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event winner Kenny “kenny05” Smaron (32nd), Nick “TheTakeover” Schulman (31st), and Jordan “JWPRODIGY” Westmorland (28th) among the next wave of knockouts, each earning $36,729.
Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden had moved into the lead, while girafganger7 — at the same time chopping Event #1-H and winning $750,000 for a runner-up finish — was sporting a top five stack.
Next out were Juanki “B4NKR0LL3R” Vecino (27th), Renato “bauruzito” Valentim (26th), Stefan “I’am_Sound” Huber (25th), Sasuke234 (24th), Dario “Secret_M0d3” Sammartino (23rd), bartek901 (22nd), Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams (21st), Daniel “Oxata” Dvoress (20th), and 26071985 (19th), all of whom earned $46,087.96. Down to two tables, Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel had edged into the chip lead.
xJensMx next went out in 18th, also earning $46,087.96, followed by Apotheosis92 (17th), 12dürma89 (16th), Timonpoika (15th), and Ivan “Negriin” Luca (14th) who each took away $57,831.54. Dani “supernova9” Stern (13th) and tua133 then followed (12th), picking up $72,567.49, and with 11 left Connor “blanconegro” Drinan had assumed the chip lead, though had a question.
blanconegro: is this 2 day or 3 day boys?
girafganger7: ft tomoro
Soon tokstiykry fell in 11th ($72,567.49) after losing a hand to leader Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel. Shortly after that it was girafganger7’s glorious Monday coming to an end after shoving from the button with 7♦7♥ only to see Garrin4e wake up in the small blind with J♦J♣. No help from the board came for girafganger7 who finished 10th, adding $72,567.49 to that $750,000 secured earlier in Event #1-H.
With nine left just one more small hand went by and play was paused for the night. Gimbel led to start the final table, and as mentioned Carrel was last in the counts. And there were a bunch of all-stars in between, too, all still with a chance for the title.
Seat 1: Emil “Maroonlime” Patel (Finland) — 3,034,022
Seat 2: th’Kick (Switzerland) — 3,854,531
Seat 3: Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattson (Sweden) — 2,585,971
Seat 4: Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel (Canada) — 7,580,568
Seat 5: Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel (United Kingdom) — 1,778,904
Seat 6: Ola “Odd_Oddsen” Amundsgaard (Norway) — 3,568,112
Seat 7: Garrin4e (Ukraine) — 6,053,022
Seat 8: Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (Mexico) — 4,167,833
Seat 9: Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden (Finland) — 2,027,037
Day 3 (from 9 to 1)
As if there weren’t enough suspense, there was about a half-hour delay to ensure everyone had connectivity before play resumed on the third and final day.
Patel falls in ninth
During the first half-hour Garrin4e took over the lead from Gimbel thanks in part to taking a decent pot off of Connor “blanconegro” Drinan.
Over the next hour Carrel would continue to nurse a short stack, with multiple all-ins going uncalled. Then with the blinds up to 62,500/125,000, it folded around to Emil “Maroonlime” Patel — winner of a SCOOP event before in 2015 — on the button and he jammed for 2,824,472. Next to act, th’Kick reraise-pushed for just over 3.5 million, and after Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattson folded in the big blind the players’ cards were turned over.
The flop fell 7♣3♣Q♣ to give Patel a pair and slim hopes of drawing out, but the A♠ turn and 2♠ didn’t help him and Patel was out in ninth.
Vousden vanquished in eighth
Thanks to that pot by the next break th’Kick was the new chip leader. Then just a few minutes after that Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel min-raised to 250,000 from middle position, Garrin4e called from the button, then Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden reraised all in from the big blind for 1,846,857. Gimbel stepped aside, but Garrin4e called showing A♥Q♦ while Vousden showed 9♦9♠.
The K♠10♥K♣ flop was okay for Vousden, if precarious. But the Q♣ turn was not, giving Garrin4e a better pair. The J♦ river then made both players straights, but Garrin4e’s was the better one and three-time career COOP winner Vousden was done in eighth.
th’kick boots two, knocks out Drinan (sixth) and Mattson (seventh)
On the very next hand, Connor “blanconegro” Drinan open-shoved for 2,307,512 from the button, then watched as chip leader th’Kick reraised to almost 4.5 million from the small blind. After a short pause Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattson followed that by calling all in from the big blind as well for his last almost 1.8 million.
C. Darwin2: A♥K♠
It was a dream flop for th’Kick — and a nightmare for the other two — coming 6♣4♦8♥ to give th’Kick a set of eights. The J♣ turn then made the river irrelevant, and suddenly th’Kick was way up over 13.8 million and more than 5 million ahead of anyone else.
With the shortest stack to start the hand, Mattson (winner of two SCOOP events in previous years) took seventh.
Meanwhile Drinan — who won a WCOOP event himself last year and made four final tables this SCOOP — bowed out in sixth place.
Amundsgaard done in fifth
Charlie Carrel remained the short stack, but would soon double-up with pocket kings, then double again after turning two pair versus th’Kick and getting full value.
Ola “Odd_Oddsen” Amundsgaard — winner of a WCOOP event in 2014 — had been on the wrong end of that first double for Carrel, leaving him with less than 500,000. Just a few hands later Carrel opened for 3x from the small blind, and Amundsgaard called all in with the 273,020 he had left after posting the 150,000 big blind.
Carrel had A♣9♣ and Amundsgaard J♥10♥, and the latter was typing “gg” even before the
5♥K♣Q♦2♥K♠ runout on his way to finishing fifth.
Garrin4e gets got in fourth
Suddenly everything had flipped, with Carrel the new chip leader and the other three (th’Kick, Garrin4e, and Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel) all near each other as the chase pack.
Carrel continued to lead as they crossed into the day’s fourth hour of play when a hand arose that saw Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel min-raise to 400,000 from the button, Garrin4e call, and the flop come A♣4♥A♥. Garrin4e checked, Gimbel continued for 300,000, Garrin4e check-raised all in for almost 2.2 million, and Gimbel called.
Garrin4e showed Q♥3♥, meaning both a flush draw and a gutshot to a wheel, while Gimbel had K♥J♠ for a currently better hand. The 9♣ kept Gimbel in front, and Garrin4e was knocked out in fourth, earning nearly half a million for the finish.
th’Kick KO’d in third
The final trio battled for about an hour, drawing close to each other at times before th’Kick became the short one with just over 5.6 million while the blinds increased to 150,000/300,000.
Then came a hand that saw th’Kick open-shove that not quite 19-big blind stack from the button, then watch Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel reraise-push from the small blind and Carrel fold.
th’Kick had Q♥10♣ and two live cards against Gimbel’s 6♣6♦, but the 7♣4♥4♣K♦3♠ board hit neither of them and th’Kick was knocked out in third.
Deal time, then Carrel collects chips and title over Gimbel
“GOBBLE GOBBLE GIBBLE” typed Carrel as heads-up play began, and a hand later the final two paused the tournament to talk about a possible chop of the just over $2.32 million worth of the prize pool still up for grabble.
At that point Gimbel led with 19,657,366 to Carrel’s 14,992,634. “ICM”-figures were produced, guaranteeing each seven-figure scores while leaving $100,000 for which to play. Carrel started out asking for $25K more than suggested, Gimbel came back with an offer of $10K, then…
Epiphany77: *huddled whispered talking*
Epiphany77: Yeah okay I’m in
Epiphany77: Gg gl wp lol
gibler321: nice gl
Just a few hands in Carrel had a 2-to-1 chip edge after a river all-in went uncalled by Gimbel. Then a while later a river value bet from Carrel did get called by Gimbel, Carrel showed a straight, and suddenly Gimbel was down to less than 5 million with the blinds still 150,000/300,000.
The pressurized all-ins started coming from Carrel thereafter, then Gimbel pushed with 9♦8♣, Carrel called with A♦7♠, but the board came J♣10♣9♣6♠Q♠ to give Gimbel a straight and survival.
For the moment, anyway.
A few hands later it was Carrel jamming again from the button, and with just over 5 million to start the hand Gimbel called. Carrel had J♣8♣ this time while Gimbel had K♥9♦, and the 10♥A♦5♠ kept Gimbel in front.
But the J♦ landed on the turn to pair Carrel, and after the 5♦ it was all over for Gimbel who came one spot shy of the title.
When he talked to us in the Bahamas, Carrel resisted any grand claims about his tournament skills, noting how easy it was to be “extremely biased into thinking that my way of playing is going to be better than it is, because of the success I’ve had and the confirmation bias I’ve had.”
Well, consider the bias confirmed once more.
Congratulations to Carrel, who after taking down Event #16-H earlier in the series has also won the SCOOP “High” Main Event. And kudos as well to Gimbel who likewise earned seven figures after the heads-up deal.
SCOOP-55-H ($10,300 NLHE [Main Event]) results
Total entries: 693 (574 entries, 119 re-entries)
Prize pool: $6,930,000
Places paid: 80
1. Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel (United Kingdom) $1,200,899.97*
2. Harrison “gibler321” Gimbel (Canada) $1,122,873.99*
3. th’Kick (Switzerland) $690,348.58
4. Garrin4e (Ukraine) $492,542.82
5. Ola “Odd_Oddsen” Amundsgaard (Norway) $351,414.75
6. Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (Mexico) $250,723.93
7. Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattson (Sweden) $178,863.39
8. Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden (Finland) $127,628.42
9. Emil “Maroonlime” Patel (Finland) $91,058.81
* = denotes a two-way deal leaving $100,000 for the winner
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.