One of the first events of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is in the history books, and what a story it told!
Players lined up, in theory of course, to play in the first high-level event in the 2009 SCOOP series, and a $500 + $30 buy-in NLHE event, with rebuys no less, was the ultimate way to kick off the action. PokerStars set it up with a $500K guarantee, but as the tournament got underway, the numbers continued to rise. When the registration and rebuy period was over, the screen showed 672 players were there, and they took 983 rebuys and 564 add-ons to create a prize pool of $1,109,500 – more than double the original guarantee.
With those statistics out of the way, the action began slowly but surely, and the Team PokerStars Pros were out in force. They also went out in force. The first to exit was Noah “Exclusive” Boeken in 611th place, followed by Gavin Griffin in 607th, and eventually those who left to join their fellow pros on the rail included Humberto Brenes, John Duthie, William Thorson, Chad Brown, and Marcin Horecki. Dennis Phillips made it to 392nd place, and fellow 2008 WSOP final tablist Ivan Demidov left soon after in 335th place. They were followed by JC Alvarado, Alex Gomes, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, Victor Ramdin, and Hevan Khan.
As the money bubble portion of the tournament neared, it seemed that newly-signed Team PokerStars Pro Peter Eastgate was running away with the chip lead, at times holding a 2-to-1 lead over his nearest competitor with 20 tables remaining. But that soon changed at the hands of Jovial Gent and Festivuss, who both put significant dents in Eastgate’s stack and relegated him to the middle of the pack as the money bubble got even closer. Ultimately, as NoraFlum was eliminated in 73rd place on that bubble and RaSZi became the first to cash in the tournament – with $3,550.40 for 72nd place – it was Eastgate and Andre “aakkari” Akkari holding down the fort for Team PokerStars. Akkari left in 64th place, though, and Eastgate lost momentum and finally finished in 55th place.
And then play slowed. And by slowed we mean crawled. There were a lot of chips in play, and the tremendous amount of money on the line – jumps of thousands of dollars – caused players to slow their rolls. As the time crept past 5:00am ET, there were two tables remaining in action.
It should be noted here that one of those final 12 players was Sdouble, and though he seemed to be losing ground in this event, he was busy winning the Event #2-Medium $100 + $9 PLO event on another table. Sdouble took the $33,664.00 first prize and the SCOOP champion’s watch. And he ended up finishing in eighth place in this event, pulling in another $23,299.50 for the night. Double the tournaments, double the fun for Sdouble.
That elimination brought us to the bubble and hand-for-hand play with the tournament nearing the 16-hour mark. It lasted about thirty minutes, during which time Sifosis was having a rough run. Though he started hand-for-hand by doubling through MrTile, the two had more run-ins that pushed Sifosis down to a critically short stack. Finally, when MrTile put it to the test with an all-in raise from the small blind, Sifosis happily called from the big blind with pocket jacks. MrTile had K♣ 2♦, but he got the card he needed on the 8♠ K♠ 9♣ flop. That was followed by the 9♠ turn and 8♣ river to end the hand and eliminate Sifosis in seventh place with $23,299.50.
With that, the final table was set in Level 29 with 4,000/8,000 blinds and a 1,000 ante, along with the following chip counts:
Seat 1: AceSpades11 (785,499 in chips)
Seat 2: Jagz7 (1,271,631 in chips)
Seat 3: BongBob (2,119,914 in chips)
Seat 4: MrTile (989,186 in chips)
Seat 5: pusteblume (469,341 in chips)
Seat 6: deamon10 (475,929 in chips)
A few hands into the action, the players decided to see the chip-chop numbers in case a deal might be struck, but despite the late hour and exhaustion, several players decided not to accept the deal. Thus, play resumed and carried on for quite some time before the first elimination occurred. It was pusteblume who made the initial raise, and when AceSpades11 reraised, pusteblume came over the top all-in with A♠ Q♥. AceSpaces11 called with pocket tens, and the two watched the cards come down K♣ J♥ 6♥ 3♥ 5♦ to allow the pair to hold up and send pusteblume out of the tournament with $35,504.00 for the sixth place finish.
Surprisingly, it only took a few hands to find the next at-risk player. The raising began with BongBob, but MrTile pushed it up further, prompting deamon10 to go all-in for 459,550. BongBob got out of the way, and MrTile called with A♦ K♣. deamon10 showed Q♦ J♦, and the board ran out 9♣ Q♣ K♠ A♥ 8♣ to give MrTile two pair and the win. deamon10 became the fifth place finisher with $55,475.00 to show for it.
Action slowed again, and the following hand, that awarded enough chips to MrTile to hop into second chip position, also took them all to another round of deal talks:
Jagz7 had been trying to get something going at the final table but couldn’t do much with the monster-stacked BongBob to his left. Finally, the two got involved and ended the battle. The hand began with AceSpades11 coming in for a raise, Jagz7 called, but BongBob raised it up. AceSpades11 and Jagz7 called, and the trio saw the 4♣ Q♥ Q♣ flop. BongBob bet, which caused AceSpades11 to fold but Jagz7 to push all-in with K♦ Q♠ and the set. But BongBob called with K♣ J♣ for the flush draw. The 9♣ came on the turn to give it to him, and the meaningless 2♠ on the river sent Jagz7 out in fourth place with $77,665.00
The final three players paused play to discuss a deal…again…and could not come to an agreement on the numbers. It was no surprise when action resumed again quickly.
BongBob had a significant chip lead with 3,261,638, while the other two players each had just less than 1.5 million each. As play continued, it seemed to be AceSpaces11 and MrTile getting involved most frequently, and the former began to chip away at the latter. Ultimately, MrTile was down to 641,239 and pushed all-in preflop with A♥ J♠, but AceSpaces11 was there with A♦ Q♦ and the call. The board brought a queen on the flop to seal the deal and send MrTile out in third place with $113,723.75. The hand played out as follows:
Heads-up play began with these chip counts:
Seat 1: AceSpades11 (2,402,376 in chips)
Seat 3: BongBob (3,709,124 in chips)
You might be able to guess what happened next. Yes! Play was paused for chip-chop numbers and a possible deal discussion. And for the love of poker, a deal was, in fact, struck. BongBob agreed to $180,000, and AceSpades11 agreed to $175,000, and the two would play on for the remaining $11,135, title, and champion’s watch.
Upon their return to play, AceSpades11 did his best to gather chips from his opponent and did so in small doses. BongBob retained his lead through most of the next 45 minutes, though AceSpades11 finally took a pot worth more than 1.5 million chips to take the lead for the first time. In the span of more than an hour of heads-up action, there were merely a handful of all-in moves that went uncalled, until the two were finally ready to end the match. BongBob had a significant chip lead, and AceSpades11 called the all-in but caught his card to double up. That put the stacks back at nearly even.
Ultimately, the two players ended their game about 20 hours into the tournament and nearly two and a half hours after heads-up play began. The final hand started with AceSpades11 down to only 357,109 in chips, and when BongBob raised all-in, AceSpades11 called all-in with K♣ 10♠, and he saw he was ahead of BongBob’s 6♠ 5♠. The board came J♠ 7♣ 5♥ A♦ 7♦ to eliminate AceSpades11 in second place, which was good for the agreed-upon amount of $175,000.00.
That made BongBob our long-awaited champion of Event 1-High of the 2009 SCOOP. For that, he received his $191,135.00 in prize money and a SCOOP champion’s watch. Congratulations!
SCOOP Event 01-High Results:
1st place: BongBob ($191,135.00)*
2nd place: AceSpades11 ($175,000.00)*
3rd place: MrTile ($113,723.75)
4th place: Jagz7 ($77,665.00)
5th place: deamon10 ($55,475.00)
6th place: pusteblume ($35,504.00)
*based on two-way chop numbers
The SCOOP series is just getting underway, and there are numerous tournaments, not to mention satellite opportunities, waiting for those seeking the best action in online poker. Visit the SCOOP page for all of the details, the leaderboard page to track your favorite players, or the PokerStars.tv site for all of the event highlights.