Nothing helps beat the summer heat like a long day of online poker, especially when the PokerStars Sunday Million is in the mix. Your proof for this weekend: just over 3,400 players were in their seats, fingers at the ready over mouse buttons, as this week’s installment of the world’s most famous $215 poker tournament began. Their numbers had swelled to 6,565 by the time late registration closed, a little less than last week’s 6,811 but still enough to build a guarantee-smashing $1,313,000 prize pool.
Aside from helping them escape the heat, the Sunday Million didn’t do our sponsored players any favors this week. Plenty of PokerStars pros showed up to play, among them Liv Boeree, Humberto Brenes, Nacho Barbero and Lex Veldhuis. Only Johnny Lodden, however, was among the 990 players who still had chips when the money bubble burst exactly five hours after the tournament began. He ended up finishing 633rd for $380.77.
It’s the end of the tournament as we know it.
With blinds at 125K/250K and antes at 25K, these players took their seats at the final table some 10 hours after play first began:
Seat 1: 26071985 (United Kingdom) 6,038,281 chips
Seat 2: TY4Stacks2 (Sweden) 9,279,420 chips
Seat 3: vasil1976197 (Ukraine) 4,268,552 chips
Seat 4: PDJ4ck (United Kingdom) 11,005,133 chips
Seat 5: eljanich (Azerbaijan) 4,026,938 chips
Seat 6: untouchble10 (Moldova) 7,812,816 chips
Seat 7: KevinV (Netherlands) 5,596,675 chips
Seat 8: LeKnave (United Kingdom) 7,097,100 chips
Seat 9: tony2pairsAK (Canada) 10,525,085 chips
On the 19th hand of the final table play the first player fell. With the action folded to eljanich in third position, the Azerbaijani player moved all-in for just over 2.1 million and got a single call from chip leader LeKnave in the cutoff. With A♥ Q♥ to LeKnave’s K♣ K♠, eljanich would need help from the board. The 7♥ 7♣ J♦ 8♥ Q♠ board paired the queen but wasn’t enough, sending eljanich to the rail in 9th place ($10,175.75).
The next out, in unexpected fashion, was the UK’s 26071985. With blinds now up to 200K/400K with a 40K ante the action folded to the button, where 26071985 promptly moved all-in for 6.12 million chips. TY4Stacks2 didn’t waste much time calling with 8♠ 8♣, which was in the lead against the original raiser’s A♥ 2♣. One pair was good enough for TY4Stacks to seize the chip lead as the board ran out 9♦ 7♦ 3♦ 5♥ 10♥, and 26071985 was out in 8th place ($15,756).
The table was soon down to just five players thanks to back-to-back eliminations. Canada’s tony2pairsAK dealt the first knockout blow with Q♦ Q♣ against the A♥ K♥ of vasil1976197, who left in 7th place ($28,886) when the board ran out J♥ 4♠ 6♣ 8♦ Q♠. On the very next hand the action folded to untouchble10 in the small blind and the Moldovan player shoved for 4.7 million with J♣ 10♣. KevinV called in the big blind with A♣ J♠ and dodged a gutshot straight draw on the K♦ 9♥ 2♥ 5♣ 3♥ board to send untouchble10 out in 6th place ($42,016). Talk of a deal sprang up briefly but LeKnave was having none of it, so play continued.
Eight hands later, with blinds now at 250K/500K and antes at 50K, tony2pairsAK sealed his fate in 5th place ($55,146) on this hand:
PDJ4ck had entered the final table with the chip lead but hadn’t been able to build any real momentum as the field dwindled. That downward trend hit its final note after KevinV opened under the gun for 1 million and PDJ4ck shoved in the big blind for another 6.1 million. It turned that both players’ decisions were nearly automatic; PDJ4ck held A♥ K♣ and KevinV 10♥ 10♣. The Q♣ 9♥ 3♦ 4♦ 2♥ board couldn’t help crack the pocket pairand PDJ4ck exited in 4th place ($72,215).
Yes, no, maybe…can you repeat the question?
Facing only two more opponents, LeKnave was more amenable to a proposed deal than earlier. But the numbers based on the current counts weren’t to the liking of Sweden’s TY4Stacks, who held almost twice the chips of either of the other players. The chip leader nixed the deal and got the action restarted.
TY4Stacks dominated the action three-handed as KevinV and LeKnave both tried to stay afloat. Eventually they would run into each other when LeKnave opened for 1 million on the button and TY4Stacks2 folded in the small blind. Holding A♦ 7♦, KevinV put LeKnave to the test by moving all-in for an effective 10.8 million. LeKnave didn’t think too long before calling with K♥ Q♣, which quickly took the lead on the Q♦ 5♦ 5♠ flop. The turn brought the 8♦, however, and the 4♦ on the river brought no full house, sending LeKnave out in 3rd place ($105,040).
Separated by only 14 big blinds, the last two players agreed to look at the numbers for a deal once more. This time the numbers – $165,384.15 for TY4Stacks2, $162,035.65 for KevinV and $20,000 for the winner – were more to the Swede’s liking, and play resumed with that deal on the books. For 16 hands they sparred before TY4Stacks2 grabbed a 24-million-chip pot by firing three barrels on a K♦ 8♣ 6♦ 7♣ Q♠ and getting a fold on the river.
Seven hands later the tournament title would come down to a coin flip, KevinV three-betting all-in for 16.3 million chips with 3♥ 3♦ and TY4Stacks2 calling with A♠ 7♣. The 10♠ 9♣ 8♥ flop was as bad as it could be for KevinV without actually falling behind, and the A♥ on the turn reduced all hope to just two remaining cards. Neither of them was the river card – the Q♦ – so KevinV took home the agreed-upon sum of $162,035.65. TY4Stacks claimed the winner’s share as well as the negotiated amount for a total purse of $185,384.15.
Sunday Million results for 8/7/2011:
1. TY4Stacks2 (Sweden) $185,384.15*
2. KevinV (Netherlands) $162,035.65*
3. LeKnave (United Kingdom)$105,040
4. PDJ4ck (United Kingdom) $72,215
5. tony2pairsAK (Canada) $55,146
6. untouchble10 (Moldova) $42,016
7. vasil1976197 (Ukraine) $28,886
8. 26071985 (United Kingdom) $15,756
9. eljanich (Azerbaijan) $10,175.75
* – amounts based on two-way deal
So that’s another successful Sunday in the annals of PokerStars history. Want to see your name here next week? The Sunday Million page should probably be your first stop.