A billion seconds is a little over 31-and-a-half years. A billion inches is nearly 15,800 miles (25,400 km) — that’s more than halfway around the world. And now we know what one billion online poker tournaments looks like, too, with PokerStars’ Tourney Number One Billion having played out Sunday night.
With a $109 buy-in and a $2 million guarantee — plus some extra free prizes along the way — it was no surprise to see an eye-popping number of players taking part in this culminating event of the Billionth Tournament Carnival. A total of 34,081 entrants created a guarantee-smashing prize pool of $3,408,100, and after 14 hours and 45 minutes it was kofi89 of Uruguay collecting all of the chips to claim the biggest chunk by winning the $329,586.71 first prize.
Unlike most tournaments in which the early levels aren’t necessarily the most thrilling, for Tourney Number One Billion the first two-and-a-half hours provided excitement every 10 minutes with randomly distributed giveaways of prizes the value of which totaled more than $200,000.
Just 10 minutes in came the first such giveaway — $1,000 cash to the 54 players sitting at the lucky six tables. Here’s a sampling of the reactions from some of those winners:
Running Goot: grats guys (thumbs up)
Da stefan77: 😀
LEJendari: just in time for Xmas
The prize-winning continued thereafter, with players picking up entries into the Sunday Million, the Big $109, Spin & Go tickets, and other goodies including still more cash prizes. Finally came the last round of giveaways — with 54 more lucky players winning $1,000 each — and with nearly 1,100 players having won some kind of bonus, attention at last exclusively turned toward determining who would be winning PokerStars’ 1,000,000,000th tournament.
Soon after registration closed and at the three-hour break there were still nearly 10,000 players remaining from those 34,081 starters. They’d be edging toward the end of the tourney’s fifth hour when the money bubble finally burst, and with 4,212 players left the United Kingdom’s con8r led everyone.
By the time they’d crossed the 10-hour mark the field had been carved all of the way down to 100 players, with Finland’s Kranpa the new chip leader and con8r having fallen in 462nd for an $817.94 cash.
A little over two-and-a-half hours later they were down to 18, with Kranpa having hit the rail a bit earlier in 34th for $2,965.04. By then Germany’s Vääääl had become the new front runner as the only player with more than 10 million chips.
blues_x_man (18th), hurikane3 (17th), and Catukinho (16th) were the next to go, each going away with $6,168.66 for their finishes. Stivi Ger (15th), AleshQa1st (14th), and Zorg222579 (13th) next went out, picking up $9,747.16 apiece. DownLow300 went out in 12th, then former leader Vääääl fell in 11th followed by ¿M1ND-R3AD? in 10th, with those three each taking away $17,517.63 from the prize pool.
There are nine zeros in 1,000,000,000. And after more than 13-and-a-half hours just nine players were left in Tourney Number One Billion.
Seat 1: BlindRazorJJ (United Kingdom) — 5,714,298
Seat 2: zardy912 (Ukraine) — 18,973,058
Seat 3: dzambur (Germany) — 8,352,130
Seat 4: kofi89 (Uruguay) — 6,246,642
Seat 5: StepaPupkin (Ukraine) — 10,190,751
Seat 6: svendottke (Denmark) — 5,570,346
Seat 7: Joas “No Limit NL” Mudde (Netherlands) — 11,445,914
Seat 8: kaveh001 (Germany) — 29,024,583
Seat 9: KiepDoDen007 (Vietnam) — 6,725,278
Germany’s kaveh001 had by then assumed a big chip lead with eventual winner kofi89 starting the final table as one of the short stacks. The final nine battled for about 20 minutes, then came the next two knockouts in successive hands — the last two hands before the break coming at the tourney’s 14-hour mark.
First it was StepaPupkin going out in ninth after a preflop raising war with kaveh001 resulted in StepaPupkin all in for just over 3.2 million (about four big blinds). StepaPupkin had A♣K♦ but had run into kaveh001’s A♠A♥, and five cards later was out. The next hand then saw KiepDoDen007 shoving from the button with 3♠3♦ then zardy912 — down to just under one big blind after having posted the BB — calling with K♣7♦. The flop brought a seven to put zardy912 in front, but a trey fell on the river to give KiepDoDen007 a set, and zardy912 was out in eighth.
Not long after the break that followed, BlindRazorJJ went out in seventh after pushing a stack of about 1.5 million (by then just about 1.5 big blinds) with zardy912 calling, kofi89 raising, and zardy912 stepping aside. BlindRazorJJ had A♦10♣ while kofi89 held K♣K♦, and after a 9♥J♣J♥4♣8♠ runout BlindRazorJJ was done. Just four hands after that dzambur was all in and at risk for just over nine big blinds with A♦Q♦ versus kaveh001’s J♣J♠, but after a jack flopped and dzambur couldn’t catch up, the latter was out in sixth.
Having scored a couple of knockouts and claimed other pots, kaveh001 was pushing even further in front with more than 50 million when no one else had half that. Then kofi89 open-raised all in and got svendottke to call all in for about 6.5 big blinds. svendottke had the edge with A♥Q♦ against kofi89’s A♣5♥, but a five came among the community cards and they were down to four.
Not long after that the blinds were 600k/1.2m when Joas “No Limit NL” Mudde open-raised all in for 22,405,212 from the small blind with 8♦8♠, but kaveh001 was waiting and ready to call from the big blind with 10♣10♥. The flop came J♦10♦8♥ to give both players sets, and after the 6♠ turn and 6♦ river kaveh001’s full house was best and Mudde was done in fourth.
The final three marched onward, then zardy912 shoved for about 9.4 million (not quite seven BBs) with Q♦7♠, got looked up by kofi89 hoding A♦Q♥ in the big blind, and after the community cards came Q♠8♣J♠4♣4♦ zardy912’s run had ended in third.
That hand gave kofi89 a handsome lead to start heads-up play with about 64.1 million to kaveh001’s 38.0 million. A couple of minutes later kaveh001 was down under 14 million when the final hand arrived.
It began with a min-raise from the button by kaveh001 to 3.2 million, followed by an all-in shove from kofi89 and a call from kaveh001 with the not quite 11 million left behind.
Both players had been dealt aces, but kofi89’s kicker was best. The board ran out 10♥2♦A♥3♠K♦, the kickers played, and kofi89 had all of the chips — not a billion, but a little over 100 million — to win the tournament.
Congratulations to kofi89 who has won tournaments at PokerStars before, but none as memorable as Tourney Number One Billion for which kofi89 takes away a suitably huge prize of more than $329K.
11/30/14 Tourney Number One Billion ($109 No-Limit Hold’em) results
Prize pool: $3,408,100.00
Places paid: 4,212
1. kofi89 (Uruguay) — $329,586.71
2. kaveh001 (Germany) — $241,566.12
3. zardy912 (Ukraine) — $177,050.79
4. Joas “No Limit NL” Mudde (Netherlands) — $129,780.44
5. svendottke (Denmark) — $95,120.07
6. dzambur (Germany) — $69,729.72
7. BlindRazorJJ (United Kingdom) — $51,121.50
8. KiepDoDen007 (Vietnam) — $37,455.01
9. StepaPupkin (Ukraine) — $27,469.28
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.