This was dentistry.
Look, I love watching poker; as long as it’s for some real money, I’ll watch just about anything happily. From the eagles of super high stakes cash game poker to the more sparrow-like fixtures of the weekly Party Poker 300K, I dig watching poker.
But this was pushing it. Not only did the October 19 Party Poker Final Table feature a player too deal-dumb to even check one out with blinds at 50,000 / 100,000 + 2,500 antes (ultimately costing himself in the neighborhood of $15,000 – $25,000 USD,) and another very mouthy, very over-matched player chatter-boxing his way along, but in a total of 79 hands played there were precisely 3 flops that did not feature a player already all-in.
I’m not a fan of the whole “that’s not poker” thing (of course it’s still poker, it’s just bad poker) but that was pushing it. And I seem to say this almost every week but at the risk of redundancy; when each pot represents 2% of the total chips in play, you really really want to at least take a peek at the deal.
Let’s take our own peek at the final table players; how they played, how they fared and how much money they made (all dollar values are in USD.)
10. thijsie444 / $2,850 / 1 hand won / 0 players eliminated
Netherlands based player, thijsie444 came into the final table with all of 192,000 in chips (blinds were already 20,000 / 40,000 with 1K antes and 3 minutes from moving up to 30,000 / 60,000 + 1.5K) but still managed to win a pot with a pre-flop all-in. He was eliminated holding AK by eventual winner santa4e in that classic race, 22 v AK. $2,850 for more than 13 to 1 on the $200 + $15 buy-in, pretty good.
9. QUANTUM321 / $4,050 / 0 hands won / 0 players eliminated
UK denizen QUANTUM321 came into the final table in decent shape with about 714,000 in chips. He got everything into the pot holding AK against A9… and the 9 hit for the very well named second place finisher, luckyvenus. Nothing you’re going to do about that one if you’re QUANTUM.
8. ExaMeter / $5,250 / 4 hands won / 0 players eliminated
German player ExaMeter came into the final table with 618,000 chips or so, our first of the 4-pronged German contingent at the October 19 Party Poker 300K final table. He got lucky to make it to 8th, surviving an at-risk all-in holding J7 against 10-10 when a Jack hit the flop. Then he got unlucky against luckyvenus holding his own pocket tens against lucky’s A4 when an Ace hit. The flop giveth and the flop taketh away.
7. Turbowurst / $7,950 / 2 hands won / 0 players eliminated
German player Turbowurst was annoying and bad. Sorry to mince words like that, but after coming in with 477,000 chips, Turbo folded everything (at one point, taking 49 seconds to fold a hand pre-flop from middle position when everyone had folded around to him,) proceeded to chide santa4e’s pre-flop all-in from the dealer button holding 10 – 8 which was called and defeated by ReRaiseYrMom’s KQ (but ReRaise had about 6 BBs left, was on the Big Blind and the table had folded around to santa who had 30+ BBs at the time) adding “chip waste deluxe” to the chat box. Then to top it all off, played maybe the worst small blind I’ve ever seen at that point in a tournament in hand 7471457057 (which will be the topic of an upcoming article.) Turbo, your $7,950 prize should give hope to amateur players everywhere, because if you can do it, anyone can.
6. ReRaiseYrMom / $10,350 / 8 hands won / 0 players eliminated
Yet another German, ReRaiseYrMom is the winner of the weekly best screen name at the Party Poker 300K final table contest. He played well too, turning a 354,000 starting stack into a solid 8 hands won tally. His tournament life was undone by Taskekrabben’s whose pocket 9s held up against that most dreaded of hands, AQ. $10,350 for a well-played tournament.
5. awojj / $13,800 / 7 hands won / 0 players eliminated
Belgian player awojj was a bit of a wallflower at the final table, entering in a virtual tie with thijsie for the dubious small stack honors at about 195,000. Don’t let the 7 hands won stat fool you, twice awojj had the blinds folded to him (which I don’t get, conventional wisdom is to attack small stacks/tight players on the blind and leave the big stacks/hyper-aggressives alone) and he managed a 620,000 chip suckout holding QJ against Taskekrabben’s AK. He was ultimately eliminated by eventual winner santa4e’s 77 when awojj’s A10 failed to improve.
4. Schelmy / $16,350 / 5 hands won / 0 players eliminated
The fourth and final of the Germans, Schelmy came into the final table with 889,000 chips and played some hardcore tight-aggressive poker. He made 6 bets at the final table, each one an all-in: four times he won pre-flop and twice he was called. Of the two bets called, first he doubled up through then chip leader luckyvenus and second, he was eliminated by lucky when Schelmy’s A10 met up with lucky’s AQ. Schelmy was one of the most vocal proponents of a deal prior to his elimination in 4th place.
3. Taskekrabben / $20,700 / 10 hands won / 1 player eliminated (ReRaiseYrMom)
Nordic player Taskekrabben was one of the better players at the final table. He came in as the second big stack with 1.18 million and won a healthy number of pots (with the exception of the elimination of ReRaise, the other 9 were all won through pre-flop aggression) despite suffering some rather gnarly beats along the way including his 620K miss with AK against awojj’s QJ and his horrible elimination at the hands of santa4e. After getting his more than 1.1 million into the middle with AK (AK was really a death trap at this table) he was called by santa4e holding A7. Should Taske have won that pot he would have had about 2.2 million with lucky around 2.4 million and santa around 2.6 mil. But the dastardly 7 of Hearts wormed out onto the flop and Taske was sent packing. $20,700 for an excellently played tournament.
2. luckyvenus / $33,000 / 18 hands won / 4 players eliminated (QUANTUM321, ExaMeter, Turbowurst, Schelmy)
Heads up statistics: Began with approximately 2.4 million / 15 hands won
Oh luckyvenus, how much more money you could have made.
Nordic player luckyvenus came into the final table as the overwhelming chip leader with more than 2.08 million. He took it to the final table between hands 32 and 60, winning 13 pots during that stretch. Did he get lucky? Continually. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the way you win poker tournaments is by getting lucky; 100% of big MTTs are won by players running lucky.
luckyvenus’s error was not made in poker play – it was in his dumbfounding commitment to playing the whole tournament through. The final table began with 6 of the 10 players favoring a deal and by the time play had whittled down to seven players, the table stood at 6 to 1 in favor of a deal. The single player against the deal with blinds at 40,000 / 80,000 +2K (meaning that before a single card was dealt about 2% of the total chips in play were in the pot) was monster chip leader luckyvenus with more than 3 million chips in front of him. Let’s do some quick math: 7 players remaining left = $162,150 left in the prize pool. Let’s round down and say 3,000,000 chips = 41.2% of the total 7,285,000 chips in play. While the deal that Party Poker will offer is not as simple as 41.2% of the total prize pool left (which would be $66,805.80) you can be pretty sure that they’d have presented luckyvenus with more than the $33,000 he won for second place.
Then, after beginning heads up play with a 2 to
1 disadvantage, lucky was able to win two big pots and claim a 4 million to 3.2 million lead. santa4e even asked “chop?” on three different occasions, including when lucky was the chip leader heads up. But luckyvenus never responded and finished in second for $33,000, a very nice payday but a whole lot less than he could have won if he’d have just looked at the deal.
1.santa4e / $60,000 / 23 hands won / 4 players eliminated (thijsie444, awojj, Taskekrabben and luckyvenus)
Heads up stats: began with 4.8 million / 26 hands won
The Finnish victor, santa4e had a lot of statistics to accredit his $60,000 triumph. Though he came in with only 515,000, santa won the most hands at the final table, both heads up and in full ring,eliminated the most players and was continually pushing for a deal despite his own success (a la Dan Harrington at the 95 World Series of Poker Main Event final table.)
But it is this statistic above all else which speaks to why santa4e was the best player at the final table: of the 3 total hands played at the final table which reached a flop without a player all-in, santa4e won all of them without a showdown. All of them.
In spite of his horrific 2 million chip suck out on Taskekrabben’s AK, santa4e did play the best poker over the course of the entire final table. $60,000 for a well-deserved outright victory.
Final Table Statistics*
79 total hands
*final table statistics do not include Heads up play.