These “High” buy-in events in the Spring Championship of Online Poker are all attracting tough, talented fields — as expected. That means anyone coming away with a win in these events has achieved something special. Add on top of that going from dead last in chips to start a final table all of the way to winning, and it becomes even more so.
Such was the feat accomplished by flong78 of the United Kingdom today in Event #18-H, a $2,100 buy-in deuce-to-seven triple draw event. Sixth of six to begin the final table, flong78 successfully climbed the mountainf to win it, outlasting a tough final group including Phil Galfond and Christopher George, with Mike Watson having just missed the final table, too.
The event drew a total of 145 entries, which meant a $290,000 prize pool — nearly double the $150K guarantee — divided among the top 24 finishers. They made the money late on the first day, with Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (16th, $3,625), Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (14th, $3,625), and “GeoManousos” (10th, $5,075) among the Day 1 cashers.
Just nine came back for Friday’s final day of play, led by Russia’s Mongano who already had four SCOOP cashes heading into this one, including a sixth-place finish in Event #7-H ($2,100 Razz) won by Jerry “hummylun” Wong.
Mongano had a big lead to start Day 2, having amassed a stack of 486,095. That was well ahead of Christopher “Ceegee87” George in second position with 258,020, with each of the other seven remaining players starting the day below the chip average.
Once play resumed, Cort “thecortster” Kibler-Melby found himself all in by the second draw in a hand versus MITS 304. Both players drew one card on all three rounds, and while MITS 304 ended with J♣9♠6♦8♣3♣ Kibler-Mebly paired up on the end, showing a 5♠5♥4♠3♥2♣ to go out in ninth.
Isidinho soon followed in eighth after losing a hand to Christopher “Ceegee87” George when the latter’s 8-6 beat Isidinho’s 8-7. Then Mike “SirWatts” Watson fell in seventh after getting short and losing the last of his chips to Mongano in a hand that saw Mongano make an 8-low while Watson paired up on his last draw.
That meant no third career SCOOP title for Watson, though he — like thecortster and Isidinho — did walk away with $8,700 for his efforts.
With six left the final table was underway, and Mongano was still the big leader and George his closest challenger.
Seat 1: Mongano (Russia) — 625,495
Seat 2: Christopher “Ceegee87” George (Canada) — 345,740
Seat 3: flong78 (United Kingdom) — 56,980
Seat 4: Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (Canada) — 151,940
Seat 5: MITS 304 (Cyprus) — 156,610
Seat 6: nilsef (Germany) — 113,235
flong78 was the short stack among the final half-dozen, with just seven big bets with which to work going forward. But over the next half-hour flong78 was able to grow that short stack into a bigger one while nilsef slipped back to sixth position.
Then came a hand in which nilsef was all in by the second draw versus leader Mongano, then stood pat while Mongano took one. nilsef showed 10♠6♣4♥3♦2♣, but Mongano had made better with 8♦6♦5♦4♥3♣ and nilsef — a two-time WCOOP winner — was out in sixth.
MITS 304 — who last year won a $1,050 buy-in WCOOP event in razz — then became short and after getting in a raising war with Mongano was all in before the first draw. MITS 304 then drew two, one, and one while Mongano drew one card twice and stood pat on the third draw to show 8♥7♥5♦4♦2♦. That beat MITS 304’s J♦8♠6♠4♣2♥, sending the latter railward in fifth.
Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond was a recognizable name at this final table, but as Mongano continued to lead Galfond slipped back to last place in the counts. Then came a hand in which Galfond raised from the button, Mongano three-bet, and Galfond called all in.
Mongano then drew one card twice before standing pat, while Galfond drew two, then one, then one. Mongano tabled 8♥6♣5♦3♦2♥ and that beat Galfond’s Q♦5♠4♥3♠2♦ to send MrSweets28 out in fourth.
The final three would battle for more than an hour, with Christopher “Ceegee87” George the short stack gamely hanging on for much of the way. Finally George was down to his last big bet and was all in before the first draw versus Mongano who drew three versus George’s two cards. On the second draw Mongano took one and George stood pat, but after Mongano stood pat on the third draw George broke his hand and took one card.
George ended up with 9♦8♥6♣5♥2♣, and it was almost enough. But Mangano’s 9♣7♦6♥4♦2♠ was best and George was sent railward in third.
By then flong78 had assumed the lead, and was ahead to start heads-up play with almost 800,000 to Mongano’s just over 650,000. The pair ultimately battled for 50 minutes, with Mongano grabbing the lead at one point only for flong78 to seize it back.
Eventually flong78 had Mongano down to less than 15,000, and on the next hand all of it went in before the first draw. flong78 didn’t start too well in the hand, having to draw four cards initially, then two, then just one. Meanwhile Mongano took two cards on the first round and one on each of the next two.
Mongano ended up with Q♦8♠7♣4♥2♠, but flong78 ended 7♠6♥5♠4♣2♦ — a “number four” — to win the last pot and complete the worst-to-first comeback.
Congratulations to flong78 for topping another tough “High” event SCOOP field and talented final table to claim the title and $69,600 first prize.
SCOOP-18-H ($2,100 FL Triple Draw 2-7) results
Total entries: 145
Prize pool: $290,000
Places paid: 24
1. flong78 (United Kingdom) $69,600
2. Mongano (Russia) $47,995
3. Christopher “Ceegee87” George (Canada) $36,250
4. Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (Canada) $24,650
5. MITS 304 (Cyprus) $18,850
6. nilsef (Germany) $13,050
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.