Going into the Sunday Million final table as a short stack is a stomach-churning proposition. Nearly $200,000 separated the bottom rung from the top this week. Ninth place might pay off a credit card. First could pay off a house. So, how would you feel with 18 big blinds? That's what caecilius brought into battle, but thanks to a fearless attitude and a few early pots, he found footing enough to bound his way up to the chip lead and close out a win.
6,882 players bought in to this week's Million, creating a $1,376,400 prize pool. 990 places were paid with first place set to earn $209,354.49. Ike Haxton, Liv Boeree, Nacho Barbero, Shane "shaniac" Schleger, Lex Vedlhuis and Angel Guillen were among the 17 Red Spades in this mix. Two of them made the money-- Team Online's Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome (822nd) and Team Pro Maxim Lykov (688th).
Blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 with ten players remaining, Down to his last 1.65 million, Jaymillio open-shoved from UTG with A♦9♦, but ran into nipe1955's pocket tens in the big blind. Jaymillio didn't improve, the board running out 6♦6♥2♥2♣Q♠ to send him home in tenth place and set the final table.
Final table chip counts
Seat 1: Str8$$$Homey (12,671,482 in chips)
Seat 2: Borso888 (11,675,497 in chips)
Seat 3: Pasiu (2,364,953 in chips)
Seat 4: nipe1955 (7,114,983 in chips)
Seat 5: muratfb (6,471,419 in chips)
Seat 6: 23noraB (8,526,280 in chips)
Seat 7: R&O--UL (9,139,066 in chips)
Seat 8: caecilius (4,467,506 in chips)
Seat 9: le bison (6,388,814 in chips)
caecilius climbs off the short stack
Pasiu got the rest of his chips in on the third hand of the final table, three-bet shoving for 2.03 million with A♥T♠ the small blind. Caecilius called, and although his Q♣T♣ was dominated, he hit a queen on the flop and another on the turn to end Pasiu's run in ninth place. The second-shortest stack to start the final table, caecilius moved up to 7.5 million.
Caecilius came within striking range of chip leaders Str8$$$Homey and Borso888 thanks to R&O--UL. Holding only ace-high and a gutshot wheel draw, R&O--UL bluffed on two streets right into caecilius' pocket tens, which were good for the 6.8 million pot. Caecilius moved up to third in chips with just under 12 million.
Nipe1955 was the next to depart, after getting his last five big blinds in on a 8♥7♠5♠A♠ board. 23noraB called, and although nipe1955 revealed A♣K♦ for top pair, 23noraB's K♠Q♠ turned the nut flush. For eighth place, nipe1955 picked up $16,516.80.
In the 25 minutes that passed before the next elimination, seemingly everyone got their shot at a double-up. Le bison was first, going from 5.85 million to 12 million when his A♣K♦ flopped a king against Borso888's pocket queens. Three hands later, caecilius four-bet to 3.85 million preflop and Str8$$$Homey called. Caecilius fired another 4.8 million on the 9♠8♥6♠ flop, Str8$$$Homey raised to 9.6 million and caecilius called all-in for 2.4 million more, turning over T♦T♠ for an overpair and a gutshot. Str8$$$Homey showed K♥7♥, but his open-ended straight draw missed, the turn and river falling the 2♠ and the 6♣. Caecilius doubled to 23 million and took a commanding chip lead, le bison the second-largest stack at 11.7 million.
Next to double was muratfb, his 8♠8♦ flopping a set against 23noraB's A♣Q♣. However, muratfb ran afoul of the deck and lost a big chunk of his stack to R&O--UL a few minutes later. All-in with A♦9♥ against muratfb's A♥K♣, R&O--UL flopped trip nines and turned nines full to move up to 10 million in chips.
Str8$$$Homey snares 23noraB, R&O--UL cripples muratfb
Str8$$$Homey broke the stalemate, eliminating 23noraB in seventh place. Down to 10 big blinds, 23noraB open-shoved for 5.05 million with Q♠T♠ and Str8$$$Homey made an easy call with A♣K♥ in the big blind. 23noraB got no help on the board and departed the final table with a $30,280.80 score.
Still hanging on with 12 big blinds, R&O--UL doubled to 12.5 million after calling down caecilius' turn and river bluffs with second pair. However, on the next hand, le bison picked up 9♦9♠ and set R&O--UL all-in preflop. R&O--UL called with A♠K♣, but le bison flopped a set to double up. Left with only 3 million at 250k/500k blinds, R&O--UL staved off elimination when his pocket tens held against Str8$$$Homey's Q♥5♥. Then he doubled again only minutes later when muratfb open-shoved for his last 4.4 million with K♣T♣. Having him slightly covered, R&O--UL called with A♠J♠ and turned an ace, moving up to 9.7 million while muratfb was crippled to less than a small blind. Caecilius finished the job on the next hand, his A♣T♠ holding up against A♠5♠. For sixth place, muratfb collected $44,044.80.
caecilius claims R&O--UL's stack
R&O--UL made one more go at a double-up, but couldn't make this one happen. On a A♥K♥Q♠ flop, R&O--UL check-raised to 4.2 million and caecilius three-bet shoved for 25.6 million. R&O--UL called off his remaining 3.89 million with A♠T♠, only to watch caecilius roll over K♣Q♦ for bottom two pair. R&O--UL had outs to aces up and a Broadway straight but missed, the turn and river blanking with the 6♠ and the 2♦ to end his run in fifth place.
As play turned four-handed, caecilius still had a huge lead with 37.9 million, le bison was a distant second with 17.2 million, Str8$$$Homey was third with 10.9 million and Borso888 had only 2.7 million. Borso888 suggested a deal, stating that he'd be fine taking a little over fourth-place money. Everyone agreed to pause the action and final table host Roy "GodlikeRoy" Bhasin presented the final four with the following chip count chop numbers.
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): caecilius:$200,968.03
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): le bison:$132,504.22
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Str8$$$Homey:$111,771.06
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Borso888:$84,770.18
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $20,000.00
While Borso888 was happy with those figures, le bison didn't want to discuss it any further and asked that play recommence. With no deal in place, cards went back in the air.
Borso888, le bison bust
Borso888 was quickly eliminated. The last of his chips went in the middle with A♦8♣, but to further cement this was caecilius' day, he picked up A♥A♠ in the small blind and sent Borso888 to the rail in fourth place.
Borso888's departure left us with an All-Canadian final three. Only a few hands later, Str8$$$Homey four-bet shoved for 10.1 million with K♣Q♠ and le bison looked him up with A♦J♣. Although le bison hit a jack on the flop, a queen came on the turn and Str8$$$Homey doubled to 20.7 million. Left with 8 million, le bison rebounded to 17.4 million when his A♣K♣ held against caecilius' Q♠9♦. Caecilius, however, didn't have a long wait before reclaiming those lost chips. After caecilius opened for a min-raise to 1.6 million with A♣Q♠, le bison three-bet shoved for 17.2 million from the small blind. Caecilius called and le bison revealed K♦T♠. Although le bison picked up straight and flush draws on the turn, caecilius' ace-high held up, the board running out 9♠7♠3♥J♠5♥ to send le bison home in third place.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 1: Str8$$$Homey (13,850,462 in chips)
Seat 8: caecilius (54,969,538 in chips)
The chip counts unbalanced to say the least, heads-up play was over in only two hands. After caecilius limped in on the button, Str8$$$Homey shoved from the big blind with king-high. Caecilius was more than happy to call with pocket queens, and the ace-high board locked up the win:
Congratulations to caecilius on going from outhouse to penthouse at this Sunday Million final table. He banked $209,354.49 for the win while runner-up Str8$$$Homey earned $154,845.00.
PokerStars Sunday Million results for 12-9-2012
Places paid: 990
1. caecilius (Canada) $209,354.49
2. Str8$$$Homey (Canada) $154,845.00
3. le bison (Canada) $110,112.00
4. Borso888 (Hungary) $75,702.00
5. R&O--UL (Canada) $57,808.80
6. muratfb (Turkey) $44,044.80
7. 23noraB (Austria) $30,280.80
8. nipe1955 (Brazil) $16,516.80
9. Pasiu (Poland) $10,667.10
Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.