There’s a lot to be said for arriving at a final table with a big stack. And coming in with a short stack, while not particularly desirable, at least has the whole “no question what I have to here” factor going for it. But what about getting to a final in the middle of the pack? It’s not uncommon for it to lead to a middling finish, but sometimes – especially in tournaments with a slow structure – it just means there’s time to pick a good spot for making a move. Israel’s aalloonn, winner of tonight’s Super Tuesday, can testify that being in the middle isn’t a bad thing at all.
This week’s tournament kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET as usual and drew 451 entrants, up a touch from last week and good for a $451,000 prize pool. After five hours of play was on the money bubble with 73 remaining. The fourth break of the day approached, with edwinnn74 (364,599 chips), elAsdespadas (355K), and volandNEW (345K) leading the way. By the time that break arrived the bubble had popped. Brian “bfizz11” Fite shoved in middle position for eight big blinds with A♦ Q♠ and was in great shape when AtlasC called with A♠ 10♦, but a ten on the river sent Fite home as the last player with a payday.
More than half of those who cashed exited in Hour 5. That left just 34 in the hunt with 5K/10K/1.5K blinds and antes as the sixth hour of play rolled around, with daskalos20 (753K), fishbones11 (749K), and king2173 (710K) at the top of the leaderboard. Half of those players fell away during the next hour, and by 9:35 p.m. ET the blinds and antes had advanced to 12.5K/25K/3.75K and two tables remained with five players each. The bubble burst when manuverd0n jammed on the button with A♦ 8♣ and daskalos20 called in the small blind with A♣ K♠. Unable to pair the kicker, manuverd0n left in 10th place ($5,412) to set up this final table lineup:
Seat 1: bartek901 (2,583,085 in chips)
Seat 2: king2173 (1,348,270 in chips)
Seat 3: AtlasC (554,730 in chips)
Seat 4: elAsdespadas (431,648 in chips)
Seat 5: Breakchips (738,185 in chips)
Seat 6: Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou (1,803,783 in chips)
Seat 7: fishbones11 (1,910,084 in chips)
Seat 8: TEENageTuRtL (888,513 in chips)
Seat 9: aalloonn (1,016,702 in chips)
The action was brisk from the beginning, not to mention very unfriendly to those who had an edge when the cards were shown down.
Breakchips, a Sunday Million finalist back in March, came to the final table in good shape with close to 30 big blinds and soon found an opportunity to move further ahead. Short-stacked elAsdespadas opened the action by moving all-in for 318K, holding 6♥ 5♥, and Breakchips called with A♣ A♠ and 270K behind. The suited connectors had just a backdoor draw on the 9♦ 4♦ 9♠ flop, but it came home when the turn and river came 8♣ 7♦ to give elAsdespadas the 677K chips in the middle.
Breakchips held steady for the next nine hands before picking up A♣ Q♠ in the big blind and three-betting essentially all-in after AtlasC opened for three big blinds. AtlasC called with A♥ K♥ and won with a pair of kings when the board came 6♣ 2♥ 3♥ K♣ 10♦, sending Breakchips to the rail in 9th place ($6,900.30).
An orbit later, three-time Super Tuesday runner-up AtlasC (including two weeks in a row back in 2014) was dealt K♦ K♠ in the small blind and ended up playing the biggest pot of the early going when TEENageTuRtL moved all-in for 579K with K♣ J♣. An 85.7-percent favorite before the flop, AtlasC had lost the pot by the turn of a board that ended up reading 4♠ 10♣ 6♣ 5♣ J♦. TEENageTuRtL stacked up to 1.24M with the win, and AtlasC was the new short stack with just 221K.
Like Breakchips previously, AtlasC lasted less than 10 hands after losing as the favorite. Now short-stacked, the player from Sweden three-bet all-in with Q♠ J♥. Original raiser (and EPT10 Barcelona finalist/past Super Tuesday finalist) Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou called, showed A♦ 7♠, and took the pot when the board came down K♠ K♦ 6♠ 5♥ 3♥. With that, AtlasC was gone in 8th place ($10,147.50).
The brisk pace kept up three hands later when WCOOP 2015 final tablist bartek901 opened for 88K under the gun and elAsdespadas jammed for 391K in the hijack seat. But the trend of pre-flop favorites losing out ended when elAsdespadas’s A♠ K♠ held up unimproved against K♦ J♥, good for a double to 884K.
A good run for the favorites
A new trend officially began two hands later, but elAsdespadas’s A♠ K♥ wasn’t on the right side of the equation. elAsdespadas opened for 88K under the gun with Big Slick and then four-bet all-in when bartek901 re-raised to 259K from the small blind. bartek901 called with K♦ K♠, the cowboys held up on the 2♠ 9♣ 4♦ 9♦ 3♦ board, and elAsdespadas left in 7th place ($14,657.50).
With that 1.82M-chip pot, bartek901 took over the top spot on the now-six-handed leaderboard:
Seat 1: bartek901 (3,434,805 in chips)
Seat 2: king2173 (1,719,095 in chips)
Seat 6: Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou (2,672,842 in chips)
Seat 7: fishbones11 (1,083,928 in chips)
Seat 8: TEENageTuRtL (1,036,428 in chips)
Seat 9: aalloonn (1,327,902 in chips)
Another big pair showed up quickly and led to the next elimination. fishbones11, a Super Tuesday Special Edition finalist during WCOOP 2015, opened for 86K with J♦ J♠ and made the final call of the raising war that erupted with aalloonn, who had three-bet from the small blind before moving all-in. fishbones11 was not just at risk, but looking to hit a set to stay alive as aalloonn held A♦ A♥. The comeback hopes were reduced to runner-runner for quads once the 9♥ 8♦ A♣ flop was out, and when the turn and river came Q♠–9♠ it was game over for fishbones11 in 6th place ($19,167.50).
TEENageTuRtL, a SCOOP-Medium winner back in 2014, had managed to win enough small pots to hold steady after that big upset win in the early going, but with blinds and antes now up to 25K/50K/7.5K and coming around twice as often, there was more pressure than ever to win a big pot. The player from Argentina caught a bad break after raising in the cutoff seat and being called by 2014 Micromillions winner king2173, who flopped two pair with A♥ J♥ and waited until the river to pull the trigger on a bet out of position. TEENageTuRtL called 321K on the river, leaving 675K behind, and then mucked when king2173 showed down the winner.
Dealt A♣ 10♥ on the next hand, TEENageTuRtL jammed from the hijack seat, only to end up heads-up against bartek901’s A♥ Q♦. A queen on the turn of the 4♦ 2♦ K♣ Q♥ 6♣ board sewed up the pot for bartek901, and TEENageTuRtL departed in 5th place ($24,354).
aalloonn, having won that pot pair-over-pair against J♦ J♠ earlier, took the next major showdown with J♣ J♠ against king2173’s 6♠ 6♦. That was good enough to move into second place, while king2173 was left with just over 1M in chips. Then king2173 immediately turned around and won the next hand with Q♥ Q♠ against daskalos20’s 7♦ 7♣. The favorite held up once again, making daskalos20 the short stack with 1.8M and leaving king2173 with a few big blinds more than that.
The next 13 minutes went by without any major shifts, easily the longest since the final table had begun an hour earlier. That stretch was finally broken up by a coin flip between the two shortest stacks, with king2173 holding 2♣ 2♥ and daskalos20 at risk with A♥ Q♣. A deuce on the flop of the 2♦ 6♥ 7♠ 4♣ K♠ board was all it took to win the 3M-chip pot, and daskalos20 exited in 4th place ($34,727).
With blinds and antes now at 30K/60K/9K, the chips were distributed like this:
Seat 1: bartek901 (3,089,562 in chips)
Seat 2: king2173 (3,691,160 in chips)
Seat 9: aalloonn (4,494,278 in chips)
There was plenty of action with play three-handed, but it didn’t immediately lead to a knockout. king2173 got the first big win. Dealt 7♦ 7♣ in the small blind, the player from Austria called button raiser bartek901’s raise to 132K and aalloonn’s re-raise to 360K. bartek901 also came along, making it a 1.1M-chip family pot going to the 3♣ 7♠ K♣ flop. king2173 checked the set and then flat-called after aalloonn bet 420K and bartek901 called, keeping the action three-handed to the 2♣ turn. All three players checked, and the A♠ came on the river. king2173 checked once more and aalloonn bet 666K. bartek901 folded, but king2173 made the call and showed down the set to win the pot – aalloonn held Q♦ 3♥ for a pair of treys.
That 3.7M-chip pot gave king2173 the chip lead with 5.7M total, about three big blinds more than both aalloonn’s and bartek901’s stacks combined. But king2173 was unable to provoke a direct confrontation with either player to take advantage of that lead, and it slipped away six orbits later. aalloonn opened the hand with A♥ 10♥ on the button and played small-ball after catching top pair on the 9♠ A♦ 2♣ flop, then opted to simply call when king2173 led out for 244K on the 2♦ turn.
king2173 fired one more bullet for 955K on the J♥ river and aalloonn, after dipping into the time bank for a bit, made the call. king2173 had 5♠ 4♠ for air, and aalloonn’s pair of aces won the 3.1M-chip pot. Then bartek901 doubled through aalloonn a few hands later with A♠ 10♣ against A♣ 9♣, flopping a Broadway straight, and suddenly the three players were nearly back to where they’d begun three-handed play.
The trio’s dance would end shortly afterward. bartek901 opened the action with a raise to 176K on the button but folded king2173 called and aalloonn re-raised to 480K. king2173 called with Q♠ 10♣, caught two pair on the 10♥ J♦ Q♥ flop, and check-raised all-in for 1.6M. aalloonn made the call immediately and showed A♦ K♥ for a Broadway straight, leaving two queens and two tens in the deck that could save king2173 from elimination. But the 2♣ turn and J♣ brought no help, and king2173 bowed out in 3rd place ($46,002).
Heads-up play began with aalloonn holding the advantage at 7.1M chips to bartek901’s 4.1M, and the Israeli player would quickly and successfully use it for leverage. aalloonn called from the big blind on the fourth hand of the match when bartek901 raised to 176K, bringing a 2♥ 8♥ 7♣ flop, and then check-raised to 400K. bartek901 made the call there and check-called the 5♠ turn before checking once more on the 3♥ turn. aalloonn bet 1.04M and took down the pot when bartek901 folded.
Now holding 8.3M to bartek901’s 2.9M, aalloonn stayed on the offensive and took down not just the majority of the pots, but all of the larger ones. Down to just 1M chips at one point, bartek901’s fortunes improved briefly, but not much – and when the blinds and antes jumped to 60K/120K/18K, the pressure was turned up to its maximum. Within a few hands the two finalists would face off in one final coin flip, aalloonn with A♣ 10♠ and bartek901 with 4♣ 4♥. An ace hit the flop, and the tournament came to its end.
bartek901 couldn’t find a way back into the game heads-up, but $62,463.50 was a nice parting gift for second place. It’s also a new third-best career score for the player from Mexico. The win was also the second strong result in the last few weeks for aalloonn, who took fifth in the Thursday Thrill two weeks back, but worth significantly more at $85,239.
Congratulations to both players for outlasting another highly skilled Super Tuesday field!
5/3/16 Super Tuesday ($1,050 NL Hold’em) results
Total prize pool: $451,000
Places paid: 72
1. aalloonn (Israel) $85,239
2. bartek901 (Mexico) $62,463.50
3. king2173 (Austria) $46,002
4. Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou (Cyprus) $34,727
5. TEENageTuRtL (Argentina) $24,354
6. fishbones11 (Canada) $19,167.50
7. elAsdespadas (Argentina) $14,657.50
8. AtlasC (Sweden) $10,147.50
9. Breakchips (Netherlands) $6,900.30
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