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The 2010 PokerStars Spring Championships of Online Poker is drawing to a close, with the remaining Main Event contenders currently preparing for the start of Day 2. As the grand finale was getting underway, the last few one-on-one battles of Event #35 were being played out. The two-day heads up tournament featured some of the toughest pros and amateurs across all three buy-in levels, with top class players pitting their skills against each other in a knockout format. Traditionally, playing heads up is reserved for the final few hands of a big multi-table tournament, but fully fledged heads up events have become more and more popular. None less so than the yearly NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which boasts Chris Ferguson and Huck Seed as former winners.

The Low portion of this No Limit Hold ‘em contest was a $250 + $20 affair, with $250,000 guaranteed by PokerStars. The popularity of heads-up tournaments was evidenced by the 2048 people who signed on to compete, obliterating the guarantee to build a prize pool of $380,500. Anyone who wanted to take home the largest chunk of that money would have to win a total of 11 heads-up contests. After two days of hard slog, the overall winner would be either drecster or roo_400. Following an hour of back and forth play, drecster moved all-in for the final time and roo_400 made the call. The cards were on their backs before the flop, decster showing Ks-9h against roo_400’s Ac-3d. The board ran out Td-7s-2s-4s-4h, meaning that Ace High was enough for roo_400 to take home the Event #35 Low title and $64,685 in prize money.

This was a big money contest, as demonstrated by the buy-in for the Mid section of Event #35, which stood at a total of $2000 + $100. Luckily, there was the small matter of a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool to attract potential players. Once again, the promise of big payouts and the popularity of heads up combined to push past the guaranteed limit, creating a total prize pool of $640,000. Among those who made the paid places was Jason Mercier – currently ranked No. 2 in the world by ESPN – who bowed out in 10th for $9,600. The final battle was between Jord4n and evanski, who tussled for the nearly $80k difference between first and second place. After some tense back and forth, Jord4n eventually took the lead. On the final hand he had his opponent all but crushed as the duo got themselves all-in on a flop of Q-K-5. Evanski showed a solid Q-8 second pair, but was completely dominated by the set of Kings Jord4n had flopped. The rest of the board brought no respite for evanski, leaving him to collect the $96,000 second place prize, while Jord4n acquired $172,800 for his title-winning performance.

In a heads-up contest, everyone gets their moment in the spotlight. In a mano-a-mano contest there’s no place to hide and your foibles and weaknesses will quickly be exposed by a stronger player. This is especially true in the High stakes section of Event #35, where the $25,000 + $500 buy-in meant that only the best would have the bankroll to compete. There were only 32 entrants for this one, but they still managed to bust through the $750,000 guarantee to build a total prize pool of $800,000. That huge sum would be shared between just four players. Among the big names who failed to make it to the semi-finals were Daniel Negreanu, Shawn Buchanan, Isaac Haxton, Timothy Adams, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Alex Keating, and Sussie Smith. One well known face who did make it into the money was gunning4you, otherwise known as Scott Seiver. Scott is one of the world’s top tournament players, and is currently ranked 7th in the world by ESPN. He recently took down the High Roller event at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $425,000, contributing to live tournament winnings of over $800,000 in 2010 alone. In the final contest he was up against Skämmes, better known as Swedish pro Michael Tureniec, who has over $1.7 million in live tournament earnings.

On a hot run of form, Seiver was the favorite going into the final. To begin with, he played like it, winning pot after pot as his opponent slowly bowed to his aggressive onslaught. Eventually Tureniec managed to find his feet and fought back successfully, taking a chip lead into the final hand. In the end it was a fairly simple dash of luck that decided the victor. On a board of 3-3-6-5, Scott Seiver must have been confident that his Q-Q was in good shape, but Tureniec’s pocket Kings told a different story. There was no miracle lady on the river for Seiver and he finished up in second place for $200,000. That left Michael Tureniec to be crowned the PokerStars SCOOP Event #35 High Stakes Champion, worth a grand total of $320,000.

The payouts (down to the quarter finals) were as follows:

Low:

1. roo_400 ($64,685)
2. drecster ($34,245)
3. C-J Rubin7 ($20,927)
4. Ojeee ($20,927)
5. GGAYCD ($10,463.75)
6. luckymax75 ($10,463.75)
7. Foldage ($10,463.75)
8. James “Andy McLEOD” Obst ($10,463.75)

Mid:

1. Jord4n ($172,800.00)
2. evanski ($96,000.00)
3. 3Kingme3 ($51,200.00)
4. ButchTimothy ($51,200.00)
5. gibralter11 ($22,400.00)
6. Timvd19 ($22,400.00)
7. Sasuke234 ($22,400.00)
lb6121 ($22,400.00)

High:

1. Skämmes ($320,000)
2. gunning4you ($200,000)
3. goatboy1 ($120,000)
4. SWEGIN ($120,000)