The variety of tournaments offered in every Full Tilt Online Poker Series is huge. All of the popular poker disciplines are catered for, along with various new and innovative structures. Away from the FTOPS, Full Tilt is renowned for their grand new ideas, such as Rush Poker and Cashout Tournaments, with these unique formats also finding a home in the FTOPS XVII schedule.

That said, sometimes you just want to play a Texas Hold ’em tournament with lots of people for lots of money. The Full Tilt supremos haven’t forgotten the simple pleasures of a vanilla poker tournament and have laid on Event #13 to prove it. This $300 + $22 buy-in contest sported one of the biggest guaranteed prize pools of any event in this series, coming in at a staggering $1.25 million. Full Tilt was gambling on the popularity of this straightforward event and, as usual, appear to have pitched it just right. Over four and a half thousand players registered for the tournament, contributing to a total prize pool of $1,405,200. To make the money you’d need to finish in the top 540 places, with the last man standing picking up $251,530.

The event was hosted by Full Tilt Pro Erik Seidel, an established veteran of the tournament circuit. He holds 8 WSOP bracelets and famously missed out on grabbing the biggest prize of all by the narrowest of margins. His second place finish in the 1998 Main Event – his debut appearance at the series – has become a cult moment in poker history thanks to the movie Rounders. Erik continues to be a force at the tables, notching up four WSOP cashes this year, along with a 2nd place finish in the NBC Heads Up Championship.

The Red Pros were out in force for this event, clearly hoping that the lack of any strange rules would allow them to get the maximum value from their skill edge. That looked like a good bet, with a total of 9 sponsored pros making the money. Walking away with a profit were: Michael Craig (513th), Isaac Baron (478th), David Pham (428th), Somyung Sim (322nd), Ram Vaswani (280th), Brandon Adams (207th), Maciek Gracz (145th), and Steve Brecher (28th). The most successful Full Tilt Pro is a name that will be familiar to everyone. The black cowboy hat and featureless expression of Chris “Jesus” Ferguson are all trademarks of one of the best tournament players in the world. He demonstrated his ability once again in Event #13, making it all the way to the final table.

With seven players remaining, all the chipstacks were relatively even at around 2.3 million, except for the obvious chip leader Bhanks11 at 5.2 million. Despite his advantage, Bhanks stepped out of the way when suckoutgenius and 93TilInfinity began a pre-flop raising war. Eventually suckout pushed his last chips into the middle and 93TilInfinity called with A-Q suited. Infinity was up against K-K, requiring some help from the board to stay afloat in the tournament. The flop ran out 7-10-3, leaving almost nothing helpful. A Jack on the turn provided a glimmer of hope and the K on the river completed an unlikely gutshot draw for Infinity, eliminating suckoutgenius in 7th place.

The next flashpoint occurred between Bhanks11 and andinista. Both were all-in on the flop, with the two stacks combining to build a pot of around 6 million. The chip leader had committed his stack with only K-6, still someway behind andinista’s pocket rockets on a flop of K-10-5. The turn and river were blanks, drastically cutting into Bhanks’ stack and leaving him open to assault from the rest of the table. A few hands later, 93TilInfinity dealt the fatal blow, hitting a second King on the turn with K-Q to beat out Bhanks’ A-8 top-pair.

Not wanting to feel left out, Chris Ferguson and maseandlou got their money in pre-flop. The battle-hardened pro clearly thought his A-Q as good enough for a shove, but he ran straight into two Aces. The flop was nothing but rags, ending Ferguson’s run at the FTOPS title in 5th place.

That left maseandlou in the chip lead with around 11 million, but once again andinsta had his eye on the big stack. After a called re-raise pre-flop, the cards fell 2d-6h-Kh. Mase bet out, only to be raised by andinsta. In response, maseandlou committed his entire stack and andinsta once again put his tournament life on the line by calling. In the lead on the flop was maseandlou with his K-7 top pair, but the Ah-9h of andinsta had a lot helpful cards left in the deck. A Jack of hearts on the turn was just such a card, guaranteeing andinsta the pot and slashing into maseandlou’s big stack.

Despite taking that big hit, maseandlou managed to hang in there long enough to make it to the final three. Shipthemula and 93TilInfinity tangled pre-flop, pushing all their chips in with A-J and Q-Q respectively. An ace on the river looked like a good card for shipthemula, but was in fact the 4th diamond on the board that Infinity needed to complete his nut flush. The remaining trio elected to stop the clock and discuss a deal. After toying with the idea of an ICM split, they decided to go with a chip ratio calculation. andinsta and Infinity shipped an extra $1k each to maseandlou and the deal was made. Over $500,000 was split between the three players, with $28,500 left for the winner to play for.

With mostly pride on the line, the action slowed at this point, until eventually maseandlou crumbled. All-in pre-flop against andinsta, his A-J could not find the cards it needed to best his opponent’s J-J. In contrast, the heads-up contest lasted for only 6 hands. Andinsta brought in a 5-1 chip lead and 93TilInfinity could not muster up any kind of assault on that huge deficit. In the final hand, it was Infinity’s J-J up against A-10. The board ran out A-9-4-4-K to confirm andinsta as the FTOPS XVII Event #13 Champion.

The final table payouts were as follows:

1st andinista ($209.606.83)
2nd 93TilInfinity ($187,217.21)
3rd maseandlou ($153,733.32)
4th shipthemula ($92,743.20)
5th Chris Ferguson ($68,854.80)
6th Bhanks11 ($47,776.80)
7th suckoutgenius ($32,319.60)
8th Paul Merson ($22,483.20)
9th hahahaha-yehaaw ($15,457.20)