Win the button. It’s a relatively new concept in tournament poker; most players are still working out their logistics/strategy/optimum plays with the game but they seem to have fun playing it. The $2,100 buy-in version of the tournament drew 246 players to participate in the interesting variation, from hugely successful professional players to lower stakes amateurs, and it was Malta’s Ro4dToBrook3 running up a $109 satellite entry into a $102,500 score with the SCOOP title.
Event #10-H looked like a standard No Limit Hold’em tournament until after the first hand. Instead of the normal clockwise rotation of the button spinning the blinds equally among participants, the winner of each hand earned the button for the next hand and so forth.
Win the Button.
That also meant having a big, aggressive stack to your right left a lot of time playing out of the position and required some tweaks to their approach to the game.
Of the 246 starting players, only 36 players earned a piece of the $500,000 prize pool and they made it into the money late on the first day. Team PokerStars member Liv Boeree came closest to cashing but dropped out in 44th place when her A♠J♥ ran into the A♦K♥ of João Mathias “joaoMathias” Baumgarten.
Day 1 ended with the tournament down to exactly two tables remaining when Baumgarten went out in 19th place (he might have been a little distracted by his Event #4 final table run). Plenty of talent returned for Day 2 and we had a clear line drawn between half of the players with massive results and the other half grabbing the biggest online payout of their career. A “pros versus joes” kind of situation.
That situation held true all the way down to the final table that formed a little over one hour after returning for Day 2. The “pros” were well represented by three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche, two-time Sunday major runner-up Guntis “poker@luffyD” Alestins, WCOOP/SCOOP champ bencb789, and WSOP Big One for One Drop champ Tony “wwwBTHEREcom” Gregg.
Iimitless (with a capital i, not the expected lowercase L) hit the final table with the chip lead and would lock up their biggest online tournament cash with a seventh place finish or better. Ro4dToBrook3 began Day 2 with the chip lead and was practically freerolling on the way to the final table because the Maltese grinder’s second biggest cash was a satellite entry into this tournament.
The chips were equally dispersed between eight of the nine players with Alestins sporting a sub-ten big blind stack.
Seat 1: kjunia (189,315 in chips)
Seat 2: bencb789 (270,039 in chips)
Seat 3: Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche (500,768 in chips)
Seat 4: Coolhandluke83 (212,666 in chips)
Seat 5: Guntis “poker@luffyD” Alestins (36,980 in chips)
Seat 6: Tony “wwwBTHEREcom” Gregg (232,810 in chips)
Seat 7: Iimitless (588,299 in chips)
Seat 8: Ro4dToBrook3 (248,657 in chips)
Seat 9: StupidFr3nch (180,466 in chips)
Blinds: 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante
Alestins and Gregg exit early
Alestins was the first one sent off and no one saw what he went to battle holding (at least not until the final table replay). He moved all in for his final 9,280 and Gregg raised it up to isolate, which did not work because Ro4dToBrook3 came along in the big blind. The two live players checked the J♣7♣6♥ flop, Gregg called 22,347 from Ro4dToBrook3 after the 8♠ turn, and then both checked the 4♥ river.
Ro4dToBrook3 showed top pair K♦J♥ to get mucks from the other two and Alestins was the first “pro” hitting the exit.
Gregg was the next “pro” sent out and it was just bad luck. He was the clear favorite in three-way all in situation with his A♣K♦ against Coolhandluke83’s A♠Q♣ and StupidFr3nch’s K♥J♠. The board ran 10♠9♣6♥10♣Q♥ to give StupidFr3nch the king-straight for the main pot, Coolhandluke83’s paired queen for the bigger side pot, and Gregg out in eighth place.
Not a great start for the “pros” at the final table.
Two more gone, Nitsche takes the lead
Two more players hit the rail soon after Gregg, one from each side of the tracks. StupidFr3nch’s A♦7♠ was out kicked by imitless’s A♠J♠ and he was kicked out in seventh place. He was followed by double COOPer bencb789 who couldn’t pair his live cards J♥10♥ against Ro4dToBrook3’s A♣8♣.
Meanwhile, Nitsche took the lead in a series of pots where he took advantage of the “win the button” aspect of the tournament. He won four consecutive hands to push his stack up, earn the button each time while forcing second-place Iimitless to post the big blind each time.
One million chip swing
Nitsche was in clear control and closing on a million chip stack before he played a million chip pot with Iimitless. It took four bets to get all of Iimitless’ stack in the middle and Nitsche needed to catch with A♠K♠ against J♥J♦ to take a massive lead. But it was a good, low board for Iimitless when it ran 7♣5♠2♣9♣7♠ to swap stacks from a “pro” to a “joe”.
Coolhandluke83 and kjunia hit the rail, Nitsche back up top
Coolhandluke83’s early release was granted when Ro4dToBrook3 caught two pair with his live 8♥7♥ against A♣J♥. kjunia was firmly on the “pro” side of the equation with several big scores, including two $1,050 Super Tuesday final tables and $1,050 Sunday Grand PLO win, but fell short when he ran his A♣10♣ into Ro4dToBrook’s big slick A♠K♣.
After kjunia was sent out, Nitsche once again moved to the top of the counts with three players remaining. It wasn’t a million chips but he pulled a 720K pot when he emptied the gun on every street with the board reading J♦8♣4♥A♥7♦ and Iimitless called all the way down.
Iimitless doubled up, knocked out
Just as before, Nitsche’s lead was short-lived when Iimitless doubled back to a workable stack then that was passed on to Ro4dToBrook3. Iimitless put all his remaining chips in the middle with Q♣10♦ but was unable to connect with those cards against A♠6♠ to set up the heads-up match.
Seat 3: Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche (675,014 in chips)
Seat 8: Ro4dToBrook3 (1,784,986 in chips)
Blinds: 10,000/20,000 with a 2,000 ante
Ro4dToBrook3 defeats to Nitsche to earn the title
The final heads-up battle pitted one of the “joes” against one of the “pros” with Ro4dToBrook3 holding a nice chip lead. It took 41 hands to settle the matter between the two with Nitsche never able to even up the stacks. The final hand was a race for the title with Ro4dToBrook3’s 9♠9♥ holding against Nitsche’s A♣K♥.
The hand sent all the chips to Ro4dToBrook3 and Nitsche will have to wait a little longer to add a major online title to his three WSOP bracelets. For his part, Ro4dToBrook3 booked by far the biggest cash of his career for $102,250 plus the title of SCOOP champion.
SCOOP-10-H ($2,100 NLHE, Win the Button) results
Total prize pool: $500,000
Places paid: 36
1. Ro4dToBrook3 (Malta) $102,250
2. Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche (United Kingdom) $75,000
3. Iimitless (Poland) $56,500
4. kjunia (Japan) $42,500
5. Coolhandluke83 (Faroe Island) $29,000
6. bencb789 (Austria) $22,500
7. StupidFr3nch (United Kingdom) $17,500
8. Tony “wwwBTHEREcom” Gregg (Canada) $12,500
9. Guntis “poker@luffyD” Alestins (Latvia) $9,500