Thanks to the holiday weekend, this week's Sunday Million prize pool vaulted past the $1.5 million mark-- because really, who doesn't want a six-figure score for Christmas? 7,718 players bought in and 1,170 of them earned a share of the massive prize pool with first place set to earn a very merry $231,543.87. Twenty members of the Red Spade army joined in, Jonathan Duhamel, Lex Veldhuis, Liv Boeree, Andre Akkari, Johnny Lodden, and Nacho Barbero among them. Only two Team Pros finished in the money, however, the Czech Republic's Martin Hruby (960th) and Portugal's Henrique Pinho (736th).
Blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 with ten players remaining, one of the shorter stacks belonging to the_eel_89. After slyfox151 opened for 720,000, the_eel_89 looked down at K♠K♥ and moved all-in for 2.42 million. Slyfox151 was in bad shape with A♠4♦, but his luck quickly turned as the board ran out 7♥2♦3♦7♦Q♦ to make him a flush. With kings cracked, the_eel_89 hit the rail in tenth place and the final table was set.
Final table chip counts
Seat 1: arnon shraga (9,423,802 in chips)
Seat 2: peanut_ps (5,459,572 in chips)
Seat 3: slyfox151 (10,298,576 in chips)
Seat 4: bullstopper (14,232,923 in chips)
Seat 5: yadio (16,012,597 in chips)
Seat 6: henri72 (2,222,108 in chips)
Seat 7: Krafty_lt (4,964,195 in chips)
Seat 8: Barbara52out (6,813,806 in chips)
Seat 9: rany01 (7,752,421 in chips)
bullstopper KOs two in a row
Short stack henri72 blinded down to 1.44 million before three-bet shoving with K♥J♦. UTG raiser bullstopper called with A♥J♠ and henri72's dominated hand did not improve, the board running out J♥9♥4♠2♠Q♠ to end his run in ninth place.
Although peanut_ps scored an early double-up when pocket tens held against yadio's pocket nines, he quickly lost back most of those chips. Back down to 5.5 million with 200,000/400,000 blinds, peanut_ps open-shovd from the button with Q♦J♦, but bullstopper was waiting in the big blind with A♣3♦. Bullstopper's ace-high improved to two pair and he scored his second KO as peanut_ps departed in eighth place.
bullstopper drowns on the river in a 32M pot
Now sitting on 15.2 million, bullstopper was in a comfortable third place behind Krafty_It and arnon shraga. However, comfort was likely replaced by curse words after bullstopper was dealt a fatal blow in the most significant pot of the final table. With 11.4 million behind, Rany01 opened for a min-raise to 1,000,000. Arnon shraga three-bet shoved for 17.4 million from the button, and bullstopper looked down at A♥K♠ in the big blind. Bullstopper called all-in, rany01 got out of the way, and arnon shraga revealed A♦T♠. Dominated and doomed to a future on the short stack, arnon shraga got no help on the 8♦4♠3♥ flop. The turn was another blank, the 6♠, but the T♥ fell from the heavens to spike on the river, the three-outer giving arnon shraga the 32 million pot and a huge chip lead. After a fantastic start to the final table, bullstopper was eliminated in seventh place, collecting $30,872 for his efforts.
yadio out in sixth, arnon shraga nabs slyfox151
Down to 4.8 million with the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, slyfox151 snagged a double-up when his A♣Q♦ held against arnon shraga's K♥4♦. A few hands later, Barbara52out opened for a 3x raise to 1.5 miliion and short stack yadio pulled the trigger, three-bet shoving for 3.07 million with pocket tens. Barbara52out called with A♣Q♣ and won the coinflip with an ace on the flop, sending yadio to the rail in sixth place ($46,308).
Slyfox151, however, couldn't fade the arnon shraga wrecking ball a second time. In a blind vs. blind confrontation, arnon shraga open-shoved for 30.8 million with 9♥7♦ and slyfox151 made an astute call with K♥8♦. Although slyfox151 got his chips in with the best of it, a seven hit the flop to pair up arnon shraga. Slyfox151 couldn't catch a king or an eight and exited in fifth place, earning $61,744.
rany01 falls to arnon shraga, Barbara52out coolered in third
At this point, the final five agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. However, when final table host Tyler "frosty012" Frost presented the ICM numbers, Krafty_It wasn't entirely happy with his share and demanded that short stack rany01 fork over an additional $13,000. Rany01 wasn't having it and with talks at an impasse, cards went back in the air.
Unfortunately for rany01, the buzz saw struck quickly. After Barbara52out opened for 1.3 million and rany01 three-bet to 3 million, arnon shraga came over the top for 5.7 million total. Barbara52out folded and rany01 called all-in for 6.89 million more, turning over A♥7♦. Arnon shraga revealed A♦Q♥ and hit a queen on the turn to eliminate rany01 in fourth place.
As three-handed play commenced, arnon shraga still had a commanding chip lead with 45.2 million. Krafty_It held 18.9 million and Barbara52out was the short stack with 13 million. Six hands after rany01's elimination, Barbara52out got her money in preflop with pocket nines, but ran headlong into Krafty_It's pocket jacks. Barbara52out didn't improve on the K♣T♦5♥2♦7♦ board and hit the rail in third place, earning $115,770.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 1: arnon shraga (48,720,398 in chips)
Seat 7: Krafty_lt (28,459,602 in chips)
Two hands into heads-up play, arnon shraga and Krafty_It agreed to take another run at deal-making and agreed to pause the action. This time, they quickly agreed to an ICM chop that left $20,000 in play for the eventual winner.
Krafty_It closed the gap a bit when he barreled the turn and river with only king-high, picking up an 11.5 million pot. However, arnon shraga responded by winning the next nine pots in a row to move back up to 55 million. Undeterred, Krafty_It ground his stack back up to 30 million, but again, arnon shraga almost immediately got it back, winning a 15 million pot with two pair.
Down to 21 million, Krafty_It made a go of it with A♦9♦, three-bet shoving preflop, but arnon shraga woke up with pocket sixes. The small pair held up and sealed the win:
Congratulations to Israel's arnon shraga on winning a Sunday Million title and nearly $217,000! For his runner-up finish, Krafty_It earned $184,476.24.
PokerStars Sunday Million results for 12/23/2012
Places paid: 1,170
1. arnon shraga (Israel) $216,863.63*
2. Krafty_It (Lithuania) $184,476.24*
3. Barbara52out (Germany) $115,770.00
4. rany01 (Austria) $77,797.44
5. slyfox151 (Netherlands) $61,744.00
6. yadio (Canada) $46,308.00
7. bullstopper (United Kingdom) $30,872.00
8. peanut_ps (Portugal) $17,751.40
9. henri72 (Estonia) $11,962.90
*= reflects the result of a heads-up deal that left $20,000 in play for the winner
Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.