The Sunday Million is the crown jewel of the PokerStars Sunday majors, a tournament that every online grinder aspires to conquer someday. It's not rare to see familiar faces among the final table lineup, chasing some of the biggest prize money offered all week. But in this week's Million Dollar Sunday edition the table featured just one player we've come to know well in PokerStars events. Otherwise it was stocked with players less well-known but still fully equipped to win the tournament - and to win career-changing money in the process.
The $5,000,000 guarantee on this edition of the Sunday Million brought out seemingly everyone with the bankroll to sustain a shot at Sunday major glory. By the time late registration ended the field had swelled to 26,925 players, building a total prize pool of $5,385,000 and scheduling a first prize worth $484,650.
Off and running
The top 4,500 players were paid out, with everyone who made the final two tables taking home at least $10,770 and everyone at the final table earning a minimum of $26,925. Russia's three-time MicroMillions champion Alfons777999 was among that group, which included these other eight players:
Seat 1: sincinaty118 (66,521,792 in chips)
Seat 2: bdklizm (25,192,451 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (76,884,426 in chips)
Seat 4: Alfons777999 (15,755,851 in chips)
Seat 5: elastobert (18,183,792 in chips)
Seat 6: zet1981 (10,278,162 in chips)
Seat 7: socke2506 (18,462,863 in chips)
Seat 8: Mr.Hazard70 (13,893,276 in chips)
Seat 9: dadoferal (24,077,387 in chips)
Austria's zet1981 was the short stack with 10.27M on the 850K/1.7M/170K level and had the misfortune to land in the small blind on the second hand of the final table. The Austrian player had to call with [Ah] [4s] when Germany's elastobert moved in from the small blind with [Jh] [9h], but the [4d] [2s] [Js] flop turned things upside down. zet1981 now needed an ace, a four, or running spades or straight cards to stay alive. The [3s] on the turn kept both draws alive but the [7c] on the river was no help, sending zet1981 to the rail in 9th place ($26,925).
Two hands later the owner of the second-shortest stack at the table would also get in ahead. Finland's Mr.Hazard70 moved in for 11.51M from the small blind after socke2506 raised to 3.4M on the button, and the German player called with [Ah] [5d]. That trailed the Finn's [Ad] [8d] from the start and failed to catch up on the [Jc] [As] [6c] [7h] [2c] board, giving Mr.Hazard70 the 26.08M-chip pot.
Hand #5 saw socke2506 try to make up for the loss by jamming for 9.32M in the cutoff. Everyone folded except Ireland's sincinaty118, whose big stack allowed a call with [Jh] [Th]. The Irish player might have been a little surprised to be ahead of [9s] [8h], but any shock wore off once the board came [As] [7h] [4d] [Td] [Tc], giving sincinaty118 the 20.86M chips in the middle and knocking out socke2506 in 8th place ($40,387.50).
The table managed to go for six hands without any direct confrontations, all the pots being taken down before the flop, before another short stack was all-in. This time it was Montenegro's dadoferal, who jammed for 17.78M in the small blind with [Jh] [Jd] after Mr.Hazard70 opened on the button for 3.8M. The Finn called with [8h] [8d] but couldn't catch up on the [3d] [Ah] [Kd] [Ac] [6c], and suddenly elimination loomed large once again.
Another six uncontested pots passed before Mr.Hazard70 tried to pick up the blinds and antes, jamming on the button with [Ks] [8d]. sincinaty118 called with [Kd] [5s] and remained behind after the flop fell [9s] [Qd] [Kc]. The [Kh] gave both players trip kings with Q-9 and they were set to chop the pot, but the [5h] on the river gave sincinaty118 kings full of fives, good enough to send Mr.Hazard70 packing in 7th place ($53,850).
The next short stack to face elimination would do so with the blinds and antes up to 1M/2M/200K. MicroMillions triple champion Alfons777999 shoved for 9.71M with [6h] [6s] in the big blind after elastobert opened for 4M under the gun and faced a coin flip when the German turned up [Ah] [Kc]. The [Td] [Th] [8h] hinted at the danger of counterfeiting, but the [4s] was safe and Alfons777999 was one card from getting a foothold to move higher up the pay ladder. But the [Ac] on the river brought all that crashing down and sent the Russian out of the tournament in 6th place ($80,775).
Time for a deal
With the table now down to five the chip stacks looked like this:
Seat 1: sincinaty118 (91,220,544 in chips)
Seat 2: bdklizm (13,262,451 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (87,224,426 in chips)
Seat 5: elastobert (35,937,805 in chips)
Seat 9: dadoferal (41,604,774 in chips)
FLasHBa3k and sincinaty118 had been 1-2 atop the tournament when the final table began and remained there, though in reversed order. The others had 20 big blinds or less and were hoping to catch a big hand or make a deal. And after this hand, FLasHBa3k was in a similar situation:RSS readers, please click through for replay
Within just a few hands the five remaining players had agreed to talk over a deal. sincinaty118 held a commanding chip lead and was set for the largest share of any agreement. When everything had been sorted out the Irish player was guaranteed $321,971.88. Everyone else got at least $229,450.46, with another $100,000 left on the table for whichever player managed to survive to the end.
dadoferal was the first to end up all-in, jamming from the button with [Ah] [2h] and being called in the small blind by sincinaty118, who held [Ad] [3h], but the [6d] [4s] [Kc] [Jh] [5d] board split the pot between the two. Five hands after that FLasHBa3k retook the lead thanks to this pot:RSS readers, please click through for replay
sincinaty118 was down to 71.34M after that but struck back immediately. The Irish player three-bet to 12M with [8d] [8h] on the button after elastobert opened for 5M under the gun and then called when the German moved in for 32.87M with [As] [Qc]. Back-to-back losses would have left sincinaty118 in big trouble with just 38.21M, but the board fell [2s] [6d] [3d] [6s] [3s] and the eights held up. That gave sincinaty118 the 70,74M chips in the middle and knocked elastobert out in 5th place.
That gave sincinaty118 a slim lead of 108.9M to 102.3M over FLasHBa3k, while both dadoferal and Norway's bdklizm had less than 13 big blinds to work with. Those two found themselves in a coin flip three hands later, dadoferal's [As] [Th] against bdklizm's [4s] [4h], with dadoferal's tournament hanging in the balance. The Montenegrin came out the winner after a [8c] [3c] [7d] [Tc] [9h], dropping bdklizm to just 1.7M. The Norwegian was dealt [Kc] [6h] on the button on the next hand and moved in, only to run into FLasHBa3k's [As] [Ks]. That [2h] [3d] [4c] [Qs] [Th] board was n help either, and bdklizm left in 4th place.
FLasHBa3k and sincinaty dominated three-handed play, winning 13 of the first 14 pots. The majority of those went to FLasHBa3k, but the last of them saw sincinaty118 show down [Ac] [Th] for two pair on a [Jc] [Tc] [Js] [8d] [Kc] board to win a 43.5M-chip pot and move ahead of FLasHBa3k by about six big blinds. The very next hand saw dadoferal take a chunk out of both players without having to show down:RSS readers, please click through for replay
That actually moved dadoferal into second place by a margin of less than one small blind, but there wasn't any time to celebrate. THe Montenegrin player picked up [Ah] [5h] on the very next hand and opened for 6M in the small blind. sincinaty118 re-raised to 13.86M in the big blind, to which dadoferal responded by four-betting to 27.72M. sincinaty118 then shoved and after dipping into the time bank dadoferal came up with a call, only to face sincinaty118's dominating [As] [Qd]. The board ran out [Td] [4h] [6s] [Jd] [Kd], giving sincinaty118 a Broadway straight and knocking dadoferal out in 3rd place.
Head to head for $100K
The battle for the last $100,000 on the table started with the chips distributed like this:
Seat 1: sincinaty118 (188,567,282 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (80,682,718 in chips)
With blinds and antes at 1.5M/3M/300K there was no time to dally, so FLasHBa3k got right to work. The Israeli player won the first hand uncontested on the river of a [Qs] [8d] [7s] [Jh] [7d], picking up a 35.06M-chip pot, and then took two of the next three as well. sincinaty118 responded by taking down a 23.72M-chip pot uncontested on the river of a [7d] [Qc] [3h] [Qd] [8s], but then FLasHBa3k went on an unprecedented run, winning 11 pots in a row, including this one, to take over the lead:RSS readers, please click through for replay
That left sincinaty118 with just over 13 big blinds and a big mountain to climb. The journey began with a coin flip, with [7d] [7s] hitting a set to stay ahead of [Ac] [Ts] on a [7h] [3c] [8s] [Kc] [Js] board. That 80.73M-chip pot was enough to get sincinaty118 back into the match, and with a couple more wins the Irish player was back on track.
Hand #97 of the final table would prove to be the turning point. FLasHBa3k opened for 8M on the button and sincinaty118 called to see a [9h] [8s] [2h] flop. The Irish player checked before raising FLasHBa3k's 8M-chip bet to 18M. FLasHBa3k came back with a three-bet to 92M, which sincinaty118 called with [Tc] [9d] for top pair. FLasHBa3k also held top pair but with [9c] [4h] for a worse kicker. The turn and river came [Ah] [Qs], giving sincinaty118 the 201M-chip pot.
Just six hands later the tournament would come to a close after FLasHBa3k limped on the button with [Kc] [7d] and called all-in for 65.37M after sincinaty118 moved all-in with [2d] [2h]. The deuces were a slim favorite going to the flop but it came [Qc] [8h] [2s] to move them well into the lead. Then the [2c] came on the turn to end all hope for FLasHBa3k, and the [9h] river put an official end to the proceedings.
FLasHBa3k's take from the deal was $261,359.81 - probably a bit of a letdown considering it could have been $100K more, but still a jump ahead of the Israeli player's previous best cash of $7,349. As for sincinaty118, the extra cash on the table for the winner made for a total score of $421,971.88. The Irish player's previous best score was $14,120 from a third-place finish in a $109 tournament back in 2012, so this win represents a major step forward. Congratulations to both players for making their way through an enormous Sunday Million field to earn a serious bankroll boost.
12/8/13 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Prize pool: $5,385,000
Places paid: 4,500
1. sincinaty118 (Ireland) $421,971.88*
2. FLasHBa3k (Israel) $261,359.81*
3. dadoferal (Montenegro) $230,028.85*
4. bdklizm (Norway) $229,450.46*
5. elastobert (Germany) $240,595.50*
6. Alfons777999 (Russia) $80,775
7. Mr.Hazard70 (Finland) $53,850
8. socke2506 (Germany) $40,387.50
9. zet1981 (Austria) $26,925
* - denotes results of a five-way deal
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.
The PokerStars Sunday Majors are already the best value in online poker, but today's promotion gave them a serious boost. Million Dollar Sunday kicked off here at PokerStars with a special $1,000,000 guarantee in the Sunday Warm-Up. The promise of twice the already formidable guarantee brought out the crowds. There were 6,412 runners in all, building a total prize pool of $1,282,400 to be split between the top 990 finishers.
With a scheduled top prize of $195,057.09 there was plenty to fight over. Unsurprisingly, that brought out a contingent of Team PokerStars Pro and Team Online players. Bryan Huang (971st place, $294.95) and Jonathan Duhamel (410th, $461.66) both cashed for Team Pro, while Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (333rd, $512.96) and Shane "shaniac" Schleger (310th, $525.78) represented Team Online. But the rest of the leaderboard remained Red Spade-free.
It took ten and a half hours of 15-minute levels to reduce the field to the final table. As it began at 9:30 p.m. ET the blinds and antes were at 150K/300K/30K and these nine players were still in the hunt for the top prize:
Seat 1: Shiko21 (12,199,608 in chips)
Seat 2: KingOfThe$ea (13,203,189 in chips)
Seat 3: hav0cLOL (10,497,837 in chips)
Seat 4: ju3lz3 (4,966,495 in chips)
Seat 5: nirnes (4,968,797 in chips)
Seat 6: pain-bg (7,985,806 in chips)
Seat 7: jus2awsum (4,874,756 in chips)
Seat 8: nitanasita (2,857,588 in chips)
Seat 9: nowayyaright (2,565,924 in chips)
The Netherlands' nowayyaright came to the table with the shortest stack at 2.85M chips and didn't waste any time getting it all into the middle. The Dutch player moved in on the third hand over the top of Canadian player jus2awsum's opening bet of 600K. The rest of the table folded and jus2awsum called with [Ah] [Js], chopping the pot with nowwayyaright's [Ac] [Jd].
Bulgaria's pain-bg had quite a few more chips at 7.8M, but after picking up [Ad] [Jc] in the big blind on the sixth hand and facing a min-raise and call in late position, pain-bg moved in for 7.2M over the bet. Original raiser KingOfThe$ea from Thailand folded but New Zealand's hav0cLOL made the call with [Th] [Ts] and 2.06M left behind. The board fell [2c] [9s] [7s] [9h] [4h], giving hav0cLOL the 16.63M-chip pot and eliminating pain-bg in 9th place ($9,938.60).
The table's two shortest stacks would collide on the next hand. nowwayyaright shoved under the gun for 3.28M, just 81K less than Sloevnia's nitanasita held in the big blind. The rest of the table folded an nitanasita made the call with [Ac] [Ks], which was flipping with nowwayyaright's [4s] [4h] until the flop came [7s] [4c] [2h]. There was still hope in the form of a back-door straight draw, but the [8h] extinguished it and the [Kh] gave nowwayyaright a double to 6.96M. nitanasita was forced all-in from the small blind on the next hand with [Kd] [7c] and lost out to jus2awsum's [Qs] [7s], leaving in 8th place ($15,388.80).
With seven hands in the books the field was also at seven. hav0cLOL took a shot at reducing that count by one on Hand #16, calling with [Td] [Ts] after opening for 800K and being re-raised all-in for 2.87M by Israel's nirnes. But the Israeli player's [As] [Qc] caught the flop and held up on a full board of [9d] [Ac] [Ks] [3s] [3h] to double up to 6.62M, good for fourth place if not exactly out of harm's way.
hav0cLOL took another stab in a similar situation four hands later, calling for 2.81M total after opening for 800K and being re-raised all-in by Canada's ju3lz3. The New Zealander's [Qd] [7s] wasn't in great shape against [Ac] [Ts] before the [9c] [9s] [2d] flop, and by the [Jc] turn it had just a 13.6 percent chance to win. But the [7h] on the river was one of hav0cLOL's outs, sending ju3lz3 to the rail in 7th place ($28,212.80).
Only three more hands would pass before the next elimination. Jus2awsum opened the betting on Hand #23 with an all-in bet of 4.18M in the cutoff seat, prompting a re-raise to 5.6M by nowayyaright, who was also now all-in. The rest of the table folded and nowayyaright was left with 1.41M chips behind. The Dutch player showed [Ah] [Qd], which was ahead of jus2awsum's [Ks] [5c] but no lock to win the hand. The [3c] [Jh] [6c] [8h] [9h] board helped neither player, though, and jus2awsum was out in 6th place ($41,036.80).
Evening things out
With half of the final table gone, the chip counts now looked like so:
Seat 1: Shiko21 (8,959,608 in chips)
Seat 2: KingOfThe$ea (10,473,189 in chips)
Seat 3: hav0cLOL (28,306,786 in chips)
Seat 5: nirnes (5,746,704 in chips)
Seat 9: nowayyaright (10,633,713 in chips)
hav0cLOL's lead was 44 big blinds with the blinds and antes at 200K/400K/40K, but it quickly shrank to less than 12 after losses to nowayyaright and KingOfThe$ea. Another small loss to KingOfThe$ea just after the start of the 250K/500K/50K level reduced the margin to a slim two big blinds, but this pot on Hand #43 would move nowayyaright into the lead:RSS readers, please click through for replay
The cowboys held up against the sixes and nirnes was gone in 5th place ($53,860.80).
Now nowayyaright, hav0cLOL, and KingOfThe$ea were crowded together at the top of the leaderboard, all within five big blinds of one another, while Shiko21 trailed with 8.75M chips. KingOfThe$ea pushed the action, winning seven of the next 13 pots - several of them at hav0cLOL's expense - to climb to 26.8M chips. Shiko21 managed to win two in that stretch to stay ahead of the blinds, and the second one, taken down with an all-in bet over hav0cLOL's opening bet of 1M, moved Shiko21 ahead of the New Zealander into third place by just two big blinds.
That small margin proved to be significant four hands later. hav0cLOL opened the betting for a minimum raise of 1.2M on the button and Shiko21 moved all-in from the big blind. hav0cLOL was covered and called with [Ah] [Jd], which needed some help against Shiko21's [Jc] [Jh]. There was no aid from the [8h] [7s] [5h] [7c] [2d] board, though, and hav0cLOL's run ended in 4th place ($70,532.00).
The final push
With hav0cLOL's departure the table was now three-handed, and everyone agreed to look at the numbers for a deal based on these chip counts:
Seat 1: Shiko21 (18,373,696 in chips)
Seat 2: KingOfThe$ea (29,699,073 in chips)
Seat 9: nowayyaright (16,047,231 in chips)
KingOfThe$ea had the chip lead and was set to take the largest share of the deal even before driving a hard bargain and demanding a few thousand dollars more from each opponent. They eventually agreed on those numbers, leaving $20,000 on the table for the winner, and play resumed. With $165,000 locked up KingOfThe$ea hit the gas, winning the first five pots before taking the sixth in a big showdown with Shiko21:RSS readers, please click through for replay
Pair-over-pair was good for KingOfThe$ea, who raked in the 32.4M-chip pot, but bad for Shiko21, who walked in 3rd place with $129,966.22 from the deal.
An unexpected duel
KingOfThe$ea now had 53.1M to nowayyaright's 10.9M, a good enough lead to take a knockout swing on the first hand of heads-up, moving all-in with [Qc] [Js] after nowayyaright opened for 1.2M on the button. The Dutch player called with the dominating [Ah] [Jc] and promptly caught the [5c] [2h] [Ad] flop, doubling to 21.8M after the board ran out [Kh] [8s].
KingOfThe$ea began chipping back up immediately, winning five of the next six pots to get back over 44M. But then nowayyaright struck back with a five-pot winning streak, including one worth 21M won by extracting value on every street of a [6d] [3s] [Td] [5c] [3c] board. That moved nowayyaright into the chip lead for the first time since the table was four-handed, with 13 big blinds more than KingOfThe$ea.
Six of the next seven pots went to KingOfThe$ea, bringing the players to within one big blind of one another, and they chopped the eighth:RSS readers, please click through for replay
After that KingOfThe$ea appeared eager to bring the show to a close. "20K flip?" the player from Thailand asked. "Next hand all-in blind? Who cares about 20, we're rich." nowayyaright cared enough to say no so play continued, with KingOfThe$ea maintaining a small chip lead on the 400K/800K/80K level. The 29th hand of heads-up, won by nowayyaright before the flop with an all-in four-bet, would see the Dutch player move into the lead for the final time.
That lead was extended two hands later after nowayyaright opened for 1.6M on the button and called a re-raise to 4.09M to see a flop of [6c] [3s] [5c]. KingOfThe$ea led out for 2.95M into the 8.34M-chip pot, nowayyaright made the call after some thought, and both players checked the [9h] turn. The river brought the [8c] and after thinking it over KingOfThe$ea bet 8.4M into the 14.2M in the middle. nowayyaright went into the time bank and found a call, which turned out to be good: [Ah] [8h] for a pair of eights beat KingOfThe$ea's busted straight draw with [Ts] [4d].
With that pot nowayyaright had a lead of 49.3M to KingOfThe$ea's 14.7M, and though the player from Thailand won the next three pots it wouldn't be enough. The 35th hand of heads-up proved to be the last after nowayyaright opened for 1.6M with [8c] [8h] and then called for 17.7M total to put KingOfThe$ea's tournament on the line. KingOfThe$ea's [Ad] [6s] picked up outs to a flush on the [2s] [8s] [4s] flop, but nowayyaright's set held up on the [7c] turn and [6c] river to close out the tournament.
KingOfThe$ea lost out on the Sunday Warm-Up title but still walked with $165,000 from the three-way deal, the largest prize for anyone in the tournament - and the largest ever in a long line of cashes for the player from Thailand dating back to 2008. Meanwhile nowayyaright grabbed the extra $20,000 on the title for a total winner's purse of $146,922.87 - more than nine times the Dutch player's previous best. Not bad for a first major tournament win!
12/8/13 Sunday Warm-Up ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Prize pool: $1,282,400
Places paid: 990
1. nowayyaright (Netherlands) $146,922.87*
2. KingOfThe$ea (Thailand) $165,000*
3. Shiko21 (Israel) $129,996.22*
4. hav0cLOL (New Zealand) $70,532.00
5. nirnes (Israel) $53,860.80
6. jus2awsum (Canada) $41,036.80
7. ju3lz3 (Canada) $28,212.80
8. nitanasita (Slovenia) $15,388.80
9. pain-bg (Bulgaria) $9,938.60
* - denotes results of a three-way deal
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.
Before a card is pitched in anger today we know that this will be the biggest ever Eureka Poker Tour Main Event. The total of 644, set here 12 months ago, is already eclipsed and with late registration open to the end of level four it may well end up being the biggest ever field for a PokerStars event in Prague.
The number to beat is 864, again that was set last year, in the EPT Main Event which Ramzi Jelassi won.
Play is set to start, today and in the run up to the money on Day 2 expect roughly one post per hour focusing in on some key stories from the tournament as well as a snapshot of what's happening. When we get close the money I'll be switching to more traditional hand for hand coverage.
Key Eureka Prague facts
- 20,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 25/50 for 400 big blinds
- One hour levels, we'll play ten today with a dinner break after level six meaning play will end around midnight.
- Late registration is open until the end of level four.
- Two starting days, then Days 2, 3 and 4 will be a combined field to a Eureka champion (cue winner's photo, trophy swinging around, celebrations in the bar).
All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha