After nearly two weeks of high-octane action, the 289bet finally drew to a close earlier this morning. There’s just enough time to take a look at the ups and downs of this final tournament and congratulate the player crowned overall champion of this giant mini-series.
The MiniFTOPS XVIII Main Event got underway with a bang early yesterday evening, requiring its 15,527 entrants to stump up $70 + $5 for the privilege. The team at Full Tilt have an uncanny knack for pitching their guaranteed prize pools just right. This series ender came with a guarantee of $1 million and the collected buy-ins just tipped over that total. When every entry fee had been collected, the total prize pool stood at $1,086,890.
Every FTOPS event, mini or massive, has a professional host and the MiniFTOPS Main Event was no exception. Mike Swick might have been a more unconventional choice, given that he is primarily a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. However, dig beneath the surface and you’ll discover a man with a rich poker pedigree. The two-time WSOP casher overcame heart problems to compete successfully in the Ultimate Fighter, winning his first two bouts in under 30 seconds. In between pummeling things he likes to keep his poker game in tip-top condition. In 2008 he was named among the top 4% online poker players in the world.
Swick’s hosting role was the second part in an MMA tie-in that saw ringmaster Bruce Buffer host the penultimate MiniFTOPS event. He also competed under a Red Pro title in the Main Event, but failed to cash. Among those joining him at the rail without a profit were Vitaly Lunkin, Scott Fischman, Roy Winston, Jon Turner, Jeff Madsen, Huck Seed, David Pham, Brandon Adams, Andrew Black, and Aaron Bartley. Not all the sponsored competitors were so unlucky. Somyung Sim will be the toast of Team Full Tilt this morning, notching up a solid 79th place finish. Also sneaking into the cash spots were Yongsuk Chang (351st), Michael Craig (1024th), Roberto Romanello (1064th), Luigi Kwaysser (1076th), Melanie Weisner (1232nd), and Farzard Bonyadi (1542nd).
Long after the last pro had fallen, the tournament reached its final table. We join the action 6-handed, with the chip stacks as follows:
(Players listed in seat order)
r u KIDDINGG ME: 14,198,178
With 6 players remaining, the first big pot took place between The_Dean221 and dicesare86. Following a tentative 1.1 million raise from dices, The_Dean took things up a few notches by committing his entire 11.4 million stack. dicesare86 made the call and the players flipped their cards. It turned out to be a straight coinflip, with The_Dean’s A-Q up against his opponent’s pocket 7s. The board ran out 8-J-5-K-10 to spike The_Dean’s gutshot at the last second. That left dicesare86 with around 5.7 million and his tournament life on the rocks.
However, he would not be leaving the Main Event in 6th place. That honor went to r u KIDDINGG ME, who kicked off his final pot by raising all-in to 7.9 million. The_Dean was once again a major player, giving himself some protection by re-raising to 15 million. Everyone stood out of his way and watched the A-10 vs. A-K hand play out. r u KIDDINGG ME held the dominated hand and a flop that completely missed both players was enough to boot him out of the tournament.
Next to go was galaktiko, yet another victim of The_Dean221. All the betting was done before any communal cards hit the virtual felt, galaktiko flipping K-Q to put him behind The_Dean’s A-Q. There were to be no suckouts on the 3-3-6-2-6 flop and galaktiko boarded his spaceship with his 5th place winnings in tow.
The_Dean, known to his friends and family as Grayson Nichols, profited greatly from his ruthless streak. Those eliminations put him in the same ballpark as castellimich in terms of chip stacks. Not to be outdone, castellimich attempted to begin his own reign of terror, choosing diceare86 as his first victim. Things didn’t go quite to plan, with dice doubling up twice with a couple of lucky hands. Eventually, it was castellimich who was all-in against dice. With the board reading 4-3-Q-6, dice made an unwise call and found his Q-9 top pair staring down the barrel of a turned set of 6s. Things didn’t improve on the river and dice was left on life support. Who else would arrive to finish the job, but The_Dean? Mr. Nichols come out on top of a quick coinflip to dispatch his third victim in a row.
A little while later, poco_kid found himself very short. He did manage a quick double up through The_Dean221, but the table’s big stack would not be beaten so easily. A few hands later the pair tangled again, all-in preflop with The_Dean hitting a flush to easily better poco’s 4-4.
At the start of heads up play the stacks were as follows:
At this point the clock was brought to a halt and the remaining duo discussed the possibility of a deal. The_Dean221 was the first player to make a suggestion, which castellimich took his time mulling over. At first the shorter stacked player rejected the offer in favor of making his own calculation, but The_Dean told him it was his offer or nothing. Eventually castellimich relented and the money was split $142,086.60 to The_Dean221 and $125,222.42 to castellimich. That left an extra $10k and the MiniFTOPS XVIII title to play for.
Now follows a complete account of the entire heads up contest: In the first one-on-one players threw their stacks in pre-flop, castellimich turning up A-K and The_Dean flagrantly revealing a couple of ducks. The board ran out J-5-6-10-9 to gift The_Dean221 the victory, holding nothing more than a pair of 2s.