Some might call it a retreat, a getaway from the news of the day, which includes everything from a worldwide economic crisis to raging wildfires in California. The Sunday Million is something that PokerStars players count on to be there each week, with its $1.5 million guaranteed prize pool and thousands of card players gathering on the internet from around the globe. The problems of the day will be there tomorrow, but the Sunday Million provides an ideal weekend escape for an afternoon…and for those whose strategy plays out, the evening as well.
The November 16th Sunday Million tournament found a total of 7,999 players registered for it, all looking for that getaway and personal economic windfall. With a prize pool of $1,599,800 going to 1,170 of the players and a first prize of $195,975.50 going to the winner, PokerStars was practically giddy with close to 8,000 players.
A number of Team PokerStars Pros got in on the action as well. Tom McEvoy, Chad Brown, Andre Akkari, Vanessa Rousso, Ray Rahme, Humberto Brenes, John Duthie, Chris Moneymaker, Hevad Khan, and Victor Ramdin all played but finished outside of the money. Others were more fortunate, however. Barry Greenstein placed 862nd, Steve Paul-Ambrose finished in 674th place, Maria Mayrinck made it to 357th, and Daniel Negreanu was the top PokerStars Pro finisher, taking $1,439.82 for 236th place.
Speaking of finishing in the money, it could be said that it was thanks to hgzp finishing in 1171st place after just three hours and 47 minutes into play that the next 1170 finishers could reap some of the tournament’s benefits. hellhound was the first to do so, taking home $319.96 for 1170th place. As players continued to take the money and run at near-record speed (30 of them in the first minute after the money bubble burst), it would still be a few hours before the field was significantly reduced.
The final two tables were determined at the eight and a half hour mark with kjmosu1978 in the chip lead as the only player with over ten million in chips. Just after the nine-hour break, the last ten remaining players were suddenly amidst hand-for-hand play to settle on the nine final tablists. Uncharacteristic of these players, however, play slowed tremendously during hand-for-hand play, taking more than thirty minutes to eliminate someone in tenth place.
Ironically, it was kjmosu1978 who had lost his position at the top of the leaderboard and sunk to one of the short stacks, pushing all-in preflop with Tc-9c. orkim called quickly with pocket queens, and it was over on the flop when three deuces were dealt. The 5s and 9s on the turn and river were unimportant, as orkim’s top full house took it. kjmosu1978 was the final table bubble player, finishing in tenth place for $7,999.00.
Within moments, before anyone could get their bearings, another player was all-in at the other table. LEstradioto raised preflop all-in for little 3,401,211, and Mr_BigQueso called, showing Kh-Jh. LEstradioto was way behind with Kc-7d, and the dealing of the community cards only solidified the outcome. The 8d-5h-Ah-Jc-9s sent LEstradioto out of the tournament in ninth place, which was worth $11,198.60.
When all of the remaining eight players took their seats at one table, the chip counts were as follows:
Seat 1: kesher79 (13642058 in chips)
Seat 2: rS.Wisdom (4937219 in chips)
Seat 3: RiverCardRob (4010987 in chips)
Seat 5: mjluth (11728249 in chips)
Seat 6: jarocho123 (5389440 in chips)
Seat 7: Mr_BigQueso (17791780 in chips)
Seat 8: maverick8487 (9796110 in chips)
Seat 9: orkim (12694157 in chips)
Those standings didn’t last long either. jarocho123 made an initial raise, but kesher79 came out of the big blind with an all-in raise. jarocho123 called all-in for his tournament life with As-Qd, and kesher79 showed pocket fours for the showdown. The virtual dealer gave them Ks-Ts-5s-5h-3d, and the pair on the board gave kesher79 two pair and the win, sending jarocho123 out immediately in eighth place with $18,397.70 in prize money.
RiverCardRob was the new short stack at the table, though only trailing rS.Wisdom by less than a million in chips. It was rS.Wisdom who raised all-in preflop and RiverCardRob who was called, the latter having all of his chips committed. rS.Wisdom had the better hand with two queens, but RiverCardRob had hope with Ah-Kd. More hope came on the flop with 4d-2d-Ac and a harmless 5s on the turn, but a Qh on the river was what rS.Wisdom needed. RiverCardRob was rivered and sent away in seventh place with an extra $27,996.50 in his PokerStars account.
With the action still fast and furious and rS.Wisdom with some newfound chips and confidence, he made an initial raise to 1,300,000 preflop. orkim called, and they saw 6s-4h-6d come on the flop. orkim led out with a bet of 1.5 million, which rS.Wisdom called. The turn of Kh prompted a check from orkim that time, but rS.Wisdom bet 1.5 million, and orkim called. The river card was a 7h, and rS.Wisdom pushed all-in and got an all-in call from orkim, who showed 8c-8h for two pair. But rS.Wisdom showed pocket aces for two pair, and orkim was gone in sixth place with $40,794.90 for the effort.
The next elimination came within minutes. The hand began with kesher79 as the initial raiser, but Mr_BigQueso came over the top all-in for 13,350,900. kesher79 called with the dreaded pocket aces, and Mr_BigQueso had to show Ad-9d. The board didn’t help matters for the all-in player when it came 9c-Ts-Td-Kh-Qd, and Mr_BigQueso had to settle for fifth place and the accompanying $56,792.90 prize.
Again, with no time to spare, maverick8487 raised a pot to 1.5 million, and kesher79 reraised three million more. maverick8487 came over the top all-in for 9,206,110 holding pocket fives, and kesher79 called with dominating pocket jacks. The board bricked for the short stack with 8s-7s-Qd-4d, and the Jh on the river only hurt a little more by giving kesher79 trips. maverick8487 was eliminated in fourth place, which was worth a solid $72,790.90.
A much needed break at the ten-hour mark came upon the final three players, and the chip counts at break were as follows:
kesher79 — 36,500,259
rS.Wisdom — 33,243,243
mjluth — 10,246,498
The short stack posed the question of whether or not anyone might be interested in a chop, but rS.Wisdom put that notion to rest quickly with a “not right now” comment. Well, of course not. And mjluth continued to lose ground when play resumed, eventually being chipped down to little more than 5.5 million. But pushing all-in with Ad-8c versus the Ks-9c of kesher79 brought a much-needed double-up.
Trying to repeat the good fortune, mjluth pushed all-in again, this time with Ac-Kh from the small blind. When kesher79 called with Ks-Qd, it seemed like a good decision…until the rest of the cards came Tc-9d-3h-Qh-8s. That queen on the turn gave the pot to kesher79, while mjluth was forced out of the tournament in third place with $89,588.80.
The final two players began heads-up action without a monstrous difference in chip counts:
kesher79 — 48,606,757
rS.Wisdom — 31,383,243
Action began only a few minutes into Level 37, and despite the relatively close chip counts, it only lasted seven hands.
kesher79 posted the small blind and a raise to 1,800,000 preflop, and rS.Wisdom came along in the big blind to see a flop of Jh-Td-2h. kesher79 bet 2,400,000, and rS.Wisdom check-called. After the Ac on the turn, the same action occurred, only that time with six million in chips. And the 2s on the river prompted another bet from kesher79, this one all-in for 40,326,757. rS.Wisdom check-called for his last 19,143,243 and showed Ad-Tc for two pair, but he was outdone by the pocket deuces of kesher79 that turned to quads!
rS.Wisdom was forced to accept a second place finish with a $132,143.48 for the respectable finish. And kesher79 took down the November 16th Sunday Million tournament with its $195,975.50 first prize. Congratulations!
Sunday Million Results for 11/16/08:
1st place: kesher79 ($195,975.50)
2nd place: rS.Wisdom ($132,143.48)
3rd place: mjluth ($89,588.80)
4th place: maverick8487 ($72,790.90)
5th place: Mr_BigQueso ($56,792.90)
6th place: orkim ($40,794.90)
7th place: RiverCardRob ($27,996.50)
8th place: jarocho123 ($18,397.70)
9th place: Lestradioto ($11,198.60)