Poker players often make New Year's resolutions that pertain to their bankrolls, tournament goals, and amount of playing time. Six days into 2013, many players were already putting those aspirations into action, and the first Sunday of the New Year offered more opportunities for that.
Winning a Sunday Million is likely on many poker players' "to do" lists, so they registered through straight $215 buy-ins or satellite tickets and took their seats. What better way to start 2013 than with a six-figure win and Sunday Million title? Maybe to achieve that goal from a luxurious beach resort in the Bahamas? Some players chose the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to kick off their year, and all of that excitement can be followed on the PokerStars Blog here. Many of those players were also gathered in the Atlantis Resort lobby or somewhere warm to play their favorite Sunday majors tournaments. January was simply chock-full of poker.
As for this first Sunday Million of 2013, the final registration numbers were as follows:
Prize pool: $1,522,600
Paid players: 1,170
With so many members of Team PokerStars at the PCA or en route to the Bahamas, there were few of them in the Sunday Million this week. In fact, none of them made the money or came very close to it. That left 1,170 payouts for the rest of the field.
The 10-hour mark of the tournament saw the 11th place elimination of mrkrjl, and hand-for-hand play began to determine the final table players. Then, taraskin1771 moved all-in UTG with A♦9♣, and PureCash25 called with 8♦8♠. That pair improved to a full house on the 2♣4♠8♣K♥2♦ board, leaving taraskin1771 out in tenth place with $8,145.91.
Smasherxx67 dominates at final table start
The latter half of Level 36 ushered in the final table, with blinds of 100,000/200,000 and a 20,000 ante. Players' chip stacks were as follows:
Seat 1: fortunaVine (4,271,790 in chips)
Seat 2: Smasherxx67 (27,613,747 in chips)
Seat 3: MITSPUCKE! (11,897,920 in chips)
Seat 4: herkij (3,199,362 in chips)
Seat 5: surprisefirm (2,842,284 in chips)
Seat 6: blaaaaaah666 (4,161,470 in chips)
Seat 7: champ458 (6,641,179 in chips) out of hand
Seat 8: Dollysz (7,274,460 in chips) out of hand
Seat 9: PureCash25 (8,227,788 in chips)
It took a few rounds for the players to get comfortable, and herkij was one of the shortest stacks. The decision to move all-in came with 8♥8♣ in the big blind after an initial middle position raise from Dollysz. Dollysz called and showed J♠J♥, and the board came 7♥T♣4♣4♥9♠ to give each player two pair. Herkij had to leave in ninth place with $11,800.15.
On the very next hand, champ458 started with an UTG raise, and Smasherxx67 reraised. Champ458 responded by moving all-in with A♣K♠, and Smasherxx67 called with 9♣9♠. The flop of K♥9♥5♣ gave champ458 a pair but Smasherxx67 the set of nines, and neither the 3♦ turn nor 2♠ river changed that. Champ458 departed in eighth place with $17,509.90.
Smasherxx67 keeps smashing
It didn't take long for another big hand to develop. Smasherxx67 started it with a raise, and MITSPUCKE! reraised all-in for nearly 10 million chips. Surprisefirm called all-in for 2.2 million with A♦K♥, and MITSPUCKE! was on the line for A♣K♠. Smasherxx67 called both players with T♠T♦, and the board of 4♠8♣T♣A♠8♠ gave Smasherxx67 a full house. That left surprisefirm out in seventh place with $30,452.00 and MITSPUCKE! out in sixth with $45,678.00.
Two players other than Smasherxx67 got involved next. FortunaVine moved all-in from the button for nearly 3 million chips, and blaaaaaah666 called from the big blind with K♥Q♥. FortunaVine was ahead with the A♦J♠, but the flop came Q♠T♦9♥ to give blaaaaaah666 the pair of queens. The 4♥ turn and 5♣ river ended the hand, and fortunaVine left in fifth place with $60,904.00.
When PureCash25 decided to make a move, none-other-than Smasherxx67 was there with the challenge. PureCash25 tried to limp from the small blind, but Smasherxx67 reraised from the big blind. PureCash25 called all-in with K♥8♣, but Smasherxx67 showed K♦Q♣ for the lead. And that hand only got better as the virtual dealer presented K♣3♠9♣2♠Q♠. PureCash25 was eliminated in fourth place with $76,739.04.
The first player to successfully double through the massive chip leader was Dollysz, as shown here:
Dollysz then took a sizeable pot from blaaaaaah666 to solidify second place on the leaderboard. When blaaaaaah666 decided to push all-in, Dollysz reraised all-in, at which point Smasherxx67 folded. Dollysz showed A♠K♣, which was ahead of the Q♦9♠ of blaaaaaah666. The board of 7♠4♦A♦6♦8♣ only gave Dollysz a better hand with a pair of aces, and blaaaaaah666 had to exit in third place with $114,195.00.
Smashing heads-up play
The starting chip counts for heads-up play were:
Seat 2: Smasherxx67 (61,171,514 in chips)
Seat 8: Dollysz (14,958,486 in chips)
Smasherxx67 took the first hand and a pot worth 7.86 million chips.
On the second hand, Smasherxx67 limped, and Dollysz raised. Smasherxx67 reraised, and Dollysz came over the top with an all-in move holding A♣Q♣. Smasherxx67 didn't hesitate to call with A♠A♥, and that pair of aces held up as the board came 8♥9♥J♠K♣5♠. The tournament was over, and Dollysz had to settle for second place and $167,486.00.
Smasherxx67 of Canada handily won the Sunday Million and $228,393.87. Congrats!
Sunday Million Results for 01/06/13:
Paid players: 1,170
1st place: Smasherxx67 (Canada) - $228,393.87
2nd place: Dollysz (Czech Republic) - $167,486.00
3rd place: blaaaaaah666 (Ireland) - $114,195.00
4th place: PureCash25 (Canada) - $76,739.04
5th place: fortunaVine (Romania) - $60,904.00
6th place: MITSPUCKE! (Germany) - $45,678.00
7th place: surprisefirm (Russia) - $30,452.00
8th place: champ458 (Lebanon) - $17,509.90
9th place: herkij (Latvia) - $11,800.15
For more information on ways to register and qualify for upcoming Sunday Million tournaments, visit the Sunday Million page.
Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.