It’s easy to see the world as a much different place than it was in 2010. So much has happened, so much has changed! But clear eyes reveal that most things are exactly the same as they were seven years ago. The sun rises every morning and sets every evening and the Sunday Million is the biggest weekly tournament in online poker. And this week, just as he was in the summer of 2010, Paul “pvas2” Vas Nunes of the United Kingdom is its champion.
pvas2’s return to Sunday Million glory had a little foreshadowing along the way, both in the intervening years since his initial win (with $1.5 million in live tournament earnings, a seat at the 2017 WSOP Main Event featured table, and a few other major PokerStars titles) and during today’s tournament itself (with three separate stints as the chip leader in the first eight hours of play). When the final table began after kraftatze’s bubble finish, the would-be repeat champion found himself stuck in the middle of the chip counts.
Seat 1: Stonefish35 (8,735,158 in chips)
Seat 2: despedespi33 (9,771,027 in chips) SCOOP finalist and $22 Mini Sunday Million winner this spring
Seat 3: YYYeaHHH (9,953,402 in chips)
Seat 4: Nethos (11,094,878 in chips) $215 Sunday Supersonic champion this summer
Seat 5: Paul “pvas2” Vas Nunes (4,715,790 in chips) past SCOOP, Sunday Million, and Sunday Warm-Up champ
Seat 6: Rui “sousinha23” Sousa (1,846,290 in chips) past Super Tuesday and WCOOP winner
Seat 7: buschle (4,332,296 in chips)
Seat 8: rashevski2 (2,555,363 in chips) finished seventh in a 2014 Sunday Million
Seat 9: TournamenT29 (3,565,796 in chips) past SCOOP-Low finalist
After building a big stack in the early going, the next ten hours were bumpy for TournamenT29’s. The Russian was in maintenance mode before getting within sight of the promised land, and nearly busted with 12 players left. But the good fortune continued with a double-up to 7.5 million on the second hand, making a flush with K♦ 10♦ on the same turn card that gave Stonefish35 the next-best hand with Q♦ 8♦. Then TournamenT29 scored the first knockout of the final, calling with K♦ J♣ in the small blind after rashevski2 shoved on the button with Q♥ 10♦ and making kings and jacks to send rashevski2 to the rail in ninth.
Rui “sousinha23” Sousa caught a break a few hands later, flopping an ace after jamming with A♥ 2♥, topping TournamenT29’s K♦ K♥, but his reprieve was temporary. Holding 9♣ 9♥, Sousa called all-in for 3.2 million from the small blind minutes later after Nethos open-shoved from the cutoff with K♣ Q♠. Things looked positive on the 3♥ 8♥ A♥ flop and 7♣ turn, but Nethos took it with a pair of queens on the Q♦ river. Sousinha23 left in eighth.
Another win with pocket eights gave Nethos the lead with 16.6 million chips as the 1am break began. Slovakia’s buschle was at the other end of the counts but two wins against YYYeaHHH turned things around. First buschle’s K♦ K♠ held up in the big blind against YYYeaHHH’s A♥ Q♦, doubling him to 7.5 million chips. Minutes later YYYeaHHH was in the cutoff and opened all-in for 4.5 million with A♠ J♥. buschle called with 7♣ 7♠, the pair held, and YYYeaHHH was out in seventh.
TournamenT29’s run came to a halt a few minutes later. First a re-raise all-in from the big blind with 10♥ 10♠, only to lose out to Stonefish35’s call with K♦ J♣, which flopped a jack. Then TournamenT29 shoved from the small blind with A♣ 9♥ on the next hand after Nethos opened in the hijack seat with 8♠ 8♥. Nethos called, dodged all the deck’s remaining aces and nines, and took the pot to eliminate TournamenT29 in sixth.
With six players left, the odds on a pvas2 comeback were pretty long.
At this point, with the two biggest stacks directly to his left and right, and his own stack worth just ten big blinds, pvas2’s chances of success looked slim. But having found Q♣ Q♦ he got all-in against Nethos’s A♦ J♥, and watched the flop come A♥ 6♥ A♣, before the Q♠ brought a full house on the turn. Two hands later he pulled off a reverse, catching an ace on the flop to win a 15.5-million-chip pot after re-raising all-in with A♥ 9♥ over the top of Nethos’s J♦ J♣.
Five hands later pvas2 put the bulk of his stack on the line, check-raising for half his chips on the river with a busted flush draw only to see buschle call with a turned flush and take the 16.7-million pot. He then had the chance to see a cheap flop in the big blind with 10♣ 9♦ and made top pair on the 6♠ 9♠ 5♥ flop. A check-raise there pitted pvas2 against Stonefish35’s out-flopped 8♣ 8♥; a loss would have left him with less than two big blinds’ worth of chips, but Stonefish35 missed on the turn and river and left the tournament in fifth.
That win gave pvas2 the second-largest stack at the table.
Seven minutes later he raised under the gun with 3♠ 3♦ and, after despedespi33 called in the big blind, made bottom set on the 8♣ 5♣ 3♣ flop. despedespi33 check-called 800,000 on the flop and 2.6 million after the A♥ turn with K♣ Q♥ for a flush draw, only to miss the draw and make a pair of kings on the K♥ river. One more check-call spelled the end of the line for despedespi33 in fourth.
There was talk of a three-way deal, but short-stacked Nethos said “let’s gamble”. Nethos looked sure to hit the rail next, but after opening big on the button with 9♦ 8♦ and calling all-in for 7.5 million chips when pvas2 shoved in the small blind with 9♣ 9♥, Nethos took down the pot with a nine-high straight against a set when the board fell 2♦ 7♥ 6♣ 9♠ 5♥.
pvas2 spent the next ten minutes grinding out small wins to pick those chips back up and then re-raised with 7♦ 7♣ in the small blind after Nethos opened with A♦ 3♥ on the button. Nethos called, missed the board, and exited in third.
That gave pvas2 a 20-big-blind lead as heads-up play began. buschle turned that around on the first hand, getting A♥ K♠ to hold up against pvas2’s A♦ Q♠ for the double to 47.2 million chips. Then pvas2 won the next two confrontations to reclaim the lead. Such big swings with so much money still on the line prompted buschle to suggest a deal.
buschle: “u want to play 50k HU >?”
pvas2: “I want a little extra on top of ICM to make my ego feel better”
pvas2: “what can you spare?”
buschle: “111usd after icm”
With a deal done buschle won the next pot with A♠ 8♦, earning 16.3 million chips after going runner-runner for a nine-high straight. That proved the Slovakian’s high point, despite flopping a flush with J♣ 5♣ on the next hand. pvas2, who had limped in with 9♦ 6♦ and checked behind on the 6♣ K♣ A♣ flop, bet and then re-raised all-in with trips sixes after the 6♠ turn; the 9♠ on the river delivered a full house and the lead.
Two hands later pvas2 min-raised the button with K♠ Q♦ and buschle called with A♣ 9♥, bringing a K♦ A♠ 5♦ flop. buschle check-raised to 3.3 million chips and pvas2 called. buschle check-called 4.5 million after the 4♣ turn and then did so one final time, all-in for 15 million, after the Q♣ river, but pvas2’s king and queens took down the pot and ended the tournament.
Congratulations to Paul “pvas2” Vas Nunes on surviving a wild ride at this final table to earn the second Sunday Million title of his career.
11/26/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold’em) results
Entrants: 5,657 (4,634 entries, 1,023 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,131,400
Places paid: 998
1. Paul “pvas2” Vas Nunes (United Kingdom) $138,335.49*
2. buschle (Slovakia) $121,698.45*
3. Nethos (Malta) $75,250.43
4. despedespi33 (Malta) $52,808.54
5. Stonefish35 (Germany) $37,059.45
6. TournamenT29 (Russia) $26,007.15
7. YYYeaHHH (Netherlands) $18,251.06
8. Rui “sousinha23” Sousa (Slovakia) $12,808.12
9. rashevski2 (Belarus) $8,988.40
* – denotes results of a heads-up deal that left $20,000 for the winner
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.