I’m writing just as I’m getting set to start a summer full of poker at the WSOP and not long after finishing playing in the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) on PokerStars. As usually happens, the SCOOP was a great warm-up for the WSOP, and this time it was especially fun as I finally won my first SCOOP watch.
I love playing SCOOP both because I always enjoy getting the chance to play online and because I like being able to play all of the different variants. Almost all of the tournaments I’ve played this year have been no-limit hold’em events, so I always like getting a chance to practice the non-hold’em games in tournaments that SCOOP offers.
As I say, I finally won a SCOOP event this year — <a href=”http://www.pokerstarsblog.com/online/scoop/2014/scoop-2014-jason-mercier-wins-event-34-m-148492.shtml”>Event #34-M</a>, the $215 buy-in 8-game mix.
My Team PokerStars Pro teammate Eugene Katchalov was at that final table, too, but he was short-stacked and ended up going out in third. When the final table started I had a lot of chips as did Michael “WatchOutFish” Benvenuti, and I pretty much figured the two of us would probably be getting to heads-up which is exactly how it played out.
To be honest, when I was at that final table I was really focusing more on the “High” version of the same event — the one with the $2K buy-in — where I was also going deep at the same time. I had just made the final table of #34-M and had that big stack, and meanwhile there were about 15 players left in #34-H where I was short-stacked.
I was trying to concentrate on both, but was a little more locked in to the “High” event where I was trying to survive. I ended up bubbling the final table there — I went out in seventh — right as heads-up was starting in the “Medium” one. I didn’t like that, obviously, but the timing wasn’t too bad as I could then focus more on the final table and the heads-up match with Benvenuti.
Our heads-up match ended up featuring some good back-and-forth. At one point I think I had about a 20-to-1 chip lead and almost blew it — he even climbed all the way back to take the lead at one point — but I was able to battle back and win it.
It felt good to win. The cash was for $21,242, which when put into perspective wasn’t all that big. After all, I played the $21K Heads-Up event just a few days later, and in truth overall SCOOP wasn’t profitable for me. But it was still very cool to get my first SCOOP win, and I was especially happy to get it in the 8-game event when I’m looking forward to playing all different forms of poker this summer.
This will be my seventh summer in Las Vegas. This is actually the longest time I’ve gone without being in Vegas, as I literally haven’t been back since the end of the WSOP last summer. I’m not looking forward to the weather, obviously, because I don’t really like the dry heat during the summer. But I’m really looking forward to playing all of the different tournaments again. It’s like a poker player’s dream.
I like this year’s schedule a lot with all of the $10K events, and I plan to play a scaled-back schedule sticking mainly to the $5K buy-in events and higher. I’m also obviously looking forward to the Big One for One Drop and the $50K Poker Players Championship.
Here’s hoping that SCOOP success can be a good springboard for me in Las Vegas.