It's getting almost mundane, if by mundane we mean really exciting and super-cool, especially for the folks who make the final table and drag down some serious coin, but the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up blew up the guarantee again this week, with 4,090 players building a humongous $818,000 prize pool. At the end of the night, while all his opponents went off to bed thinking about what might have been mellowGold11 came from behind heads up to take down the top prize of $128,426 after besting hwtd1 in a marathon heads up match.
It was certainly a case of the rich getting richer on the final table bubble, as hwtd1's pocket aces held up on a king-high board to boot short-stacked Charibert to the rail in 10th place when his top pair wasn't quite good enough. Hwtd1 was the dominant chip leader before that hand, and after it came into the final table with a massive 14 million in chips, more than double the stack of his nearest competitor.
The action kicked off right from the start at the final table, with hwtd1's huge stack translating into several short stacks around the table. Two of them tangled on one of the very first hands, and a cruel river washed away dan82mur in 9th place ($6,544). All the money went in preflop, as chip leader hwtd1 raised from middle position. MellowGold11 smooth-called from the button, but dan82mur moved all in from the small blind. Hwtd1 got out of the way, but mellowGold11 made the call with A♣-Q♠, only to find dan82mur holding A♦-K♣. The 7♦-A♥-9♥ flop left mellowGold11 drawing slim, and the 5♣ on the turn was no help. The river brought the Q♦, giving mellowGold11 the three-outer he needed, and dan82mur was done.
It was just a couple of hands later when the next victim fell, this time at the hands of Bassduck. This time the best preflop hand held up as Bassduck opened for a raise with Ah-Qc. Prallimall moved all in over the top with Ad-Jd, and was dominated when Bassduck made the call. The flop pretty much sealed the deal, as Bassduck made top pair on the 7♥-Q♥-5♣ board. With no flush draw available, prallimall was drawing dead after the 3♥ turn, so the J♣ on the river was just adding insult to injury as prallimall retired in 8th place ($10,225).
Faster than a typing blogger, the field shrunk again as powerle and haneferd tangled in a huge confrontation that left the game seven-handed. As was the case in most of our bustout hands, all the money went in preflop, as powerle open-shoved with A♠-T♥. He was in deep trouble when haneferd snap-called with A♦-A♥. The outcome was pretty standard, as the board ran out 8♠-A♣-T♦-8♦-8♥ to give both players a full house. Haneferd's yacht proved the bigger boat to powerle's dinghy, and powerle was done in 7th place ($18,405).
Eventual champ mellowgold11 claimed another victim when he busted Paulmclean23 in 6th place ($26,585) to move ever closer to the chip lead. Hwtd1 raised preflop and got action from mellowGold1, Bassduck and Paulmclean23, and then the fireworks went off on the 7♦-2♠-4♠ flop. Bassduck led out, Paulmclean raised, hwtd1 got out of the way, and then mellowGold11 moved all in over the top! Paulmclean23 quickly called all in for less, and Bassduck decided discretion was the better part of valor and got out of the way. Paulmclean23 held the lead with 4♣-2♣ for two pair, but mellowGold11 had A♠-Q♠ for the nut flush draw. The turn brought the T♠ to complete mellowGold11's flush, and Paulmclean was drawing to four outs. The K♥ on the river wasn't one of those outs, and his tournament was over.
Bassduck came back from break on the short stack, and it only took a few hands for all his chips to end up in the middle of the table. After a button raise from mellowGold11, Bassduck shipped it in with pocket sevens. MellowGold11 had a real hand, and made the easy call with two queens. Nothing out of the ordinary happened on the A♣-6♥-K♥-5♦-T♥ board, and Bassduck picked up $34,765 for 5th place.
It took next to no time for the first pile of eliminations to come to pass, but it took almost an hour for the field to shrink the next spot, as hwtd1 came from behind to send happyfister packing in 4th place ($47,035). All the money went in preflop, as hwtd1 moved all in with A♠-T♣ and happyfister snap-called with K♦-K♠. The flop was ugly for happyfister, coming out Q♥-A♦-5♣, and happyfister needed one of two outs to stay alive. It was not to be, as the turn and river came down 5♠-T♥ to cut the field to three.
That hand gave the chip lead back to hwtd1, who had lost it earlier in the final table. His aggression unabated, hwtd1 took out haneferd in 3rd place ($67,485) a few hands later. It was hwtd1 who put the final nail in the coffin, but mellowGold11 did all the heavy lifting, decimating haneferd's stack in this huge hand.
With the chip lead firmly in hwtd1's hands going into heads up play, it was time for the final break of the night. The players came back from break to play a tremendous back and forth heads up match, with lead changes coming every few minutes as one player would pull away, only to fall prey to a big hand that didn't go his way. Finally, after one of the longest heads up matches I've seen in a Sunday Warm-Up, and with no talk of a deal ever kicking off, mellowGold11 took the chip lead for the final time. The final hand was as exciting as they come, starting off as a coin flip, then the pendulum swinging one way, then a massive two-outer to send all the chips in the other direction. Check out this craziness -
When the dust settled, mellowGold11 came from behind to knock out hwtd1 in 2nd place ($95,706) and claim the whopping $128,426 top prize. Congrats to our top two finishers on a phenomenal heads up match, and congratulations to all our final table players in this week's Sunday Warm-Up!