Just moments ago, Event #9 in the eleventh Full Tilt Series of Poker came to a thrilling conclusion. The first of two heads up events in this series, it was hosted by tournament superstar, and 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship title holder, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Each entrant would need to battle through a swathe of heads up challenges in order to claim a slice of $666,000 prize pool.
Ferguson, who is a well known proponent of game theory, shot to fame by winning the 2000 WSOP main event. Since then he has made a name for himself as a cool, calculated tournament expert – picking up 4 more bracelets as well as a record 3 WSOP-Circuit titles. His skill at heads-up play is well known, not least because, in the last 4 years of the National Poker Heads-Up Championship he has finished in the top 2 three times.
One hundred and twenty eight players coughed up the $500 + $35 to enter the Event #9, making this one of the biggest fields in FTOPS XI so far. Competitors hoping to walk away with a profit would need to finish in the top 128 places, no mean feat considering that the tournament took 13 hours to complete. The eventual winner needed to capture 11 heads-up victories in one stretch.
In the end the the title went to Luie Sojo, who will take home a well earned $115,884. The man he defeated to capture the title was one of the finest online players currently active on Full Tilt, Plz_Stop_Lookin (otherwise known was Jake Nelson). Jake received $69,264 for his placing, with rivercrime and bigdogpckt5s picking up $35,298 each for their joint 4th place finish.
The final table itself was, as you might expect, relatively short – coming in at just under 30 minutes. Things began slowly, with neither player looking to make a big play. Slowly, however, more and more chips began to enter the pot, although neither player managed to pull away by any significant margin. The turning point came when an Ace and two spades fell on the flop. Plz_Stop_Lookin checked and called on the flop, and then did the same when another spade fell on the river. A fourth and final spade on the river again prompted a check from Plz, with Luie Sojo once again betting big. After some deliberation the final call was made and Luie flipped over QhKs for the second nut flush. Plz mucked his cards and Luie collected a 3,400 pot.
With a lead of about 5,000 to 1,000 Luie was firmly in control. Although Plz did manage to claw back some ground, he never really looked likely to re-take the lead. Ten minutes later it was all over, a raise of 150 from Luie prompting Plz to push all in for 1,815. Unfortunately for Plz, Luie’s call was a no brainer, and when the cards were flipped it was Plz with 8-8 against Luie with K-K. No excitement on the board meant that the match was over and Luie Sojo was FTOPS XI Event #9 champion.
As is customary, a few of the well known Team Full Tilt pros snuck into the money as well. Heads-up play favors the skillful player, so it was no surprise to see that Ryan Daut (18th), Josh Arieh (34th), Ali Sarkeshik (50th), Issac Baron (51st) and Scott Fischman (128th) all walked away with their wallets a little heavier. Spare a thought however for Joao Barbosa who finished in the bubble in 129th place.