We are just four days into this year’s Full Tilt Online Poker Series and the unstoppable tournament train has already hit Event #12. This 6-max No Limit Hold ‘em event features the biggest buy-in of any single day event this series, meaning that only the very best players were able to find the $1,000 + $60 required to enter. Full Tilt was clearly not expecting the high price point to repel so many people, with the prize pool unable to crack the $1.5 million guarantee. Of course, for the elite 1,138 who did enter, this meant extra equity and a shorter tournament. Event #12 finished early this morning, coming in at a bracing 10.5 hours.
The event was hosted by poker phenom and amateur rapper Jeff Madsen, most famous for his double bracelet haul at the 2006 World Series. In addition to his prodigious poker talent, Madsen has also become a hit with online poker fans thanks to his questionable hip-hop videos. Madsen is still one of the game’s top players, recently scoring $635,000 for his 1st place finish in the $3,300 NLHE event at the Borgata Winter Open. This haul took his lifetime live tournament earnings to over $3.1 million. Sadly he was unable to replicate that success in Event #12, finishing way out of the money in 454th place.
Although this was one of the higher buy-in tournaments at this year’s series, there was a surprising lack of big name Red Pros in attendance. The most successful sponsored player was Niklas Heinecker ($41,875), who made it all the way to the final table, but crashed out in 6th place. The only other Team Full Tilt members to cash was Josh Arieh in 18th ($8,000) and Jon ‘PearlJammed’ Turner in 76th ($2,375). Among the big names that failed to finish in the money were Allen Cunningham, David Pham, Jeff Madsen, and Vivek Rajkumar.
The Event #12 victor is no stranger to FTOPS success, having won Event #25 at FTOPS XV back in February this year. BigMich08, known in the real world as Matt Glassley, took down the title after a 4-way chop left him with the second biggest share of the prize money. He was awarded $158,569.62, with the largest chunk going to PokerKaiser ($169,492.65). The remaining two players, grtwhitehoop and HeylmDro, picked up $150,176.29 and $113,798.32 respectively. This left $22,000 for first, $11,500 for second, $4,300 for third, and $2,000 for fourth. Intriguingly, the Full Tilt software would not allow any money to be assigned for finishing 4th, so the quartet made a gentleman’s agreement that the winner would transfer $2k to 4th place.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that the first player to exit the 6-max final table was FT Pro Niklas Heinecker. Up against PokerKaiser’s big-stack, he pushed his remaining 230,000 in pre-flop and was in pole position with A-7 versus Kaiser’s Q-9. Unfortunately for the German pro, the board came 4-8-9-7-5 and he headed to the rail in 6th place. Onlookers had to wait a long time to see the 5th place elimination. Eventually, a raising war between barcs69 and PokerKaiser ended with a pre-flop all-in push from barcs, who found himself in a straight race with A-Q against 10-10. The flop, turn, and river were complete rags, meaning that a pocket pair was good enough to secure Kaiser his second elimination of the final table.
At this point, the 4-way deal was discussed and ratified, leaving glory and a few thousand in change to play for. Before too long PokerKaiser had his 2.3 million stack in the middle once again, tempting HeylmDro to call off his last 647,000. It was another close run contest, with Heylm holding Q-J and Kaiser A-2. Once again the board failed to provide any cards of interest, leaving Kaiser the victor with Ace high and Heylm logging off in 4th place. With half the final table eliminated, Kaiser took a back seat and let BigMich08 and grtwhitehoop fight it out to face him heads up. BigMich moved all-in under the gun and grtwhite called with pocket Jacks. Mich was trailing with just A-7 to his name, but a flopped Ace was enough to gift him the pot and ensure that he progressed to a heads-up encounter with PokerKaiser.
Given that the vast majority of the prize money had already been dolled out, it’s perhaps no surprise that the one-on-one confrontation lasted only 6 hands. In the final pot, the duo were once again all-in before the flop – BigMich holding A-10 and PokerKaiser on the other side of the coin-flip with 3-3. With palpable tension in the air, the board fell 7-J-Q-A-4 to give Matt Glassley his first title of FTOPS XVI.