With SCOOP looming ever nearer on the horizon, the PokerStars tournament players are all gearing up for the biggest tournament series of the springtime. This Sunday 4,534 players reinforced their Vitamin D deficiencies and stayed inside to bulk up the $906,800 prize pool in the Sunday Warm-Up. Once again, PokerStars' Warm-Up could be considered a Main Event in many, many ways. After going 15 rounds with that massive field, this week's champion was fazi608, who took down a whopping $142,260.89 in a no-deal final table. It was a tough match, but finally fazi608 made runner-up iveygotstacks tap out and claimed the belt! Ok, really just the money and glory, but sometimes a metaphor takes on a life of its own.
fazi608 came into the final table with nearly double the stack of his nearest competitor, but the rest of the field was clustered pretty closely together. This week's final table also featured two of PokerStars' VIP players, GoldStar jaaaaaaack, who came into the final nine as one of the shortest stacks, and SuperNova dsnka, who was also short-stacked when the final table kicked off. Dsnka's stack shrank even more when he ran his A♣-Q♥ into jaaaaaaack's pocket Aces to double up the shorty and leave the SuperNova on life support. It was less than an orbit later when dsnka got his chips in the middle for the last time.
With a tiny stack and the blinds creeping around, dsnka found A♠-Q♥ in early position and open-shoved. The big stack fazi608 flat-called from middle position, but right next to him was jaaaaaaack, who moved all in over the top! Everyone else got out of the way, and fazi made the call with Q♠-Q♦, only to see jaaaaaaack turn over K♣-K♥. The flop was certainly worthy of all the preflop action, as it came down 9♦-K♦-T♠, giving jaaaaaaack top set, but leaving open the gutshot straight draw for both his opponents, as well as a backdoor flush draw for fazi. The 2♦ on the turn only heightened the suspense, as fazi then had a legitimate flush draw, but the river bricked out with the 6♥, and jaaaaaaack more than doubled up as dsnka headed to the rail in 9th place ($7,254.40).
Philbrigin was next to bust in 8th place ($11,335.00) in a hand that had me saying "ouch" several times before it was all over. Jaaaaaaack opened for a raise from early position, and philbrigin put in a raise from the cutoff. Iveygotstacks took a moment from the small blind before moving all in over the top. Jaaaaaaack got out of the way, and philbrigin called all in for a little less than iveygotstacks had. The first "ouch" came when philbrigin showed T♠-T♥ to iveygotstacks' A♥-A♦. The flop was a pretty standard J♥-5♠-Q♠. The next "ouch" came when the T♣ peeled off on the turn to give philbrigin a set and crack iveygotstacks' Aces. But the final "ooowwwwwch" came when the river brought the K♠ to give iveygotstacks the Broadway straight and bust philbrigin after a heck of a rollercoaster ride.
Iveygotstacks continued his winning ways when he busted murallin in 7th place ($20,403.00). All the money went in preflop in the almost stereotypical final table footrace. Iveygotstacks raised from late position with 7♠-7♣, murallin moved all in over the top with A♥-K♥, iveygotstacks made the call, and the runners were off! The flop started well for murallin, as the first card to land was the K♣, but the next two were the 6♦ and 7♦ to give iveygotstacks a set. That left murallin drawing thin to stay alive, and the 5♣ on the turn was no help. The river was a meaningless T♦, and then there were six.
Jaaaaaaack was nothing if not active at the final table, coming in short and doubling up quickly. He made it all the way to 6th place ($29,471.00) before his luck ran out and the superstacked fazi608 sent him packing. It was a battle of the blinds that finally did jaaaaaaack in, when fazi raised preflop after the rest of the field got out of the way. Jaaaaaaack defended his big blind, and the flop came down 5♥-7♦-A♦. Fazi fired another bet, and jaaaaaaack raised. Fazi called, and the turn came down the 6♦. Fazi checked, and jaaaaaaack moved all in. Fazi snap-called with K♦-8♦ for the turned nut flush, and jaaaaaaack was looking for the board to pair with his 7♠-7♥. The river was the unhelpful 3♣, and jaaaaaaack was sent off with nearly $30K to buy a consonant.
Iveygotstacks got deeper-stacked when he took out ladub40 in 5th place ($38,539.00). All the money went in preflop as ladub and ivey traded raises until all the chips were in the middle. When the hole cards were revealed, iveygotstacks showed Q♦-Q♥, well ahead of ladub40's 3♠-3♦. The flop came down J♥-T♥-7♠, and when the turn brought the Q♠, ladub was drawing la-dead. the river was the K♣, and iveygotstacks moved solidly into second place in chips.
Fazi608 was completely silent in the chat box, preferring to let his chip stack do the talking, and what they said to Sh1LLa was "see you later." Sh1LLa played a solid final table, but found himself on the short stack and shipped it in preflop with K♦-J♥. Fazi made the call from the small blind with A♣-T♣, and made two pair on the 6♥-7♥-8♣-T♦-6♠ board to narrow the field to three competitors.
Three-handed play didn't last long, as Demosthen3s was sorely short-stacked compared to his remaining opponents. After a button raise from iveygotstacks, Demosthen3s moved all in over the top preflop with K♥-5♦, and ivey made the call with K♠-T♣. The 3♣-6♣-2♦ flop gave Demosthen3s an inside straight draw, but the Q♣ on the turn gave ivey a flush draw to go with his leading hand. The river was the A♣ to complete ivey's flush, and Demosthen3s was done in 3rd place for a healthy $74,811 payday.
Iveygotstacks played a phenomenal final table, taking out opponent after opponent on his way to heads up play, but at the end of the day fazi608's hard-won chip advantage was too much to overcome. Heads up play only lasted a few minutes before all the chips finally tipped to fazi's seat, and iveygotstacks was busted in 2nd place ($105,642.20). The final hand started out pretty normally - fazi raised from the button, and ivey flat-called to see a flop of K♦-8♦-7♥. Iveygotstacks checked the flop, and fazi put out a continuation bet. Then fireworks erupted as ivey put out a healthy raise. Fazi moved all in over the top, and ivey made the call with K♠-J♥. Fazi showed K♣-7♦ for top and bottom pair, and ivey was in desperate need of a jack to double up and stay alive. The turn was the 5♣, and the river brought the 2♦, and ivey's tournament was over.
Fazi608 put on a dominant showing as he went practically wire-to-wire with the chip lead to claim the Sunday Million crown and $142,260.89 for first place! With no deal struck at the final table, this week's champion took down a healthy prize for ten hours' work! Congratulations to Fazi608, and to all our Sunday Warm-Up players! We'll see you next week, then back in May for the SCOOP!