After two weeks of delayed Sunday Million tournaments for Daylight Savings Time sufferers, the ever-popular Sunday tournament was back on a regular time schedule for the March 22nd edition. With spring having been declared official only two days prior, a new season awaited many thousands of players.
With the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) only days away and players looking to hone their skills in preparation of it, the Sunday Million welcomed a total of 7,906 players to the virtual felt to compete for a prize pool that became $1,581,200, gently putting the $1.5 million guarantee to a quiet shame.
The massive crowd of players quickly thinned, and when the money bubble approached, Bushman kindly went out in 1171st place on that bubble to allow dirkdiggler9 to cash for $316.24 and numerous others to follow. And with that, the field dwindled further to move toward the final nine players and the last table of the tourney.
At that point, it was bakaunko who pushed all-in with his short stack of 3,204,476 preflop holding pocket threes. bbs99 called from the small blind with pocket jacks, and it looked like the final table bubble would burst. But the flop came [6D]-[3H]-[5C] to give bakaunko the advantage with trips. The [2C] on the turn allowed that to hold, but the [JH] on the river gave bbs99 the better set, leaving bakaunko ousted in tenth place with $7,906.00 for the bubble spot.
With that, the final nine players were established as follows:
Seat 1: Liqqa (6,120,206 in chips)
Seat 2: reef2287 (7,994,226 in chips)
Seat 3: ckingusc (14,669,864 in chips)
Seat 4: *xen (10,831,038 in chips)
Seat 5: Rabbiej (4,577,660 in chips)
Seat 6: 1GENERAL_TAO (6,775,126 in chips)
Seat 7: bbs99 (16,753,871 in chips)
Seat 8: tpreston (4,310,041 in chips)
Seat 9: bigsexyKN (7,027,968 in chips)
With bbs99 in the chip lead from the start of the action, Zachary “ckingusc” King was not far behind and looking to add another title to his already impressive resume. Many will remember him for his 2008 WCOOP main event win only a few months ago. You can watch his brilliant WCOOP victory right here…
Watch WCOOP Highlights: $5,200 Main Event on PokerStars.tv
Back at the Sunday Million, although action began rather slowly, bigsexyKN had no complaints as he doubled through bbs99 to stay alive. But eliminations would come soon.
With tpreston sitting on one of the shorter stacks, the move was inevitable. After reef2287 started the hand with a preflop raise, tpreston reraised all-in with [AD]-[KC], but reef2287 called with pocket kings. The board came an uneventful [JC]-[10D]-[7D]-[3C]-[9H], and tpreston accepted $11,068.40 for the ninth place finish.
Rabbiej wasn’t afraid to move some chips around and soon doubled through bigsexyKN to climb to over 9 million chips. But soon after, looking at a raise from *xen, Rabbiej reraised all-in with [AS]-[JC]. There wasn’t much hesitation on the part of *xen to call with pocket kings, and the [3C]-[7S]-[8H] flop came down in support of that. The [2H] on the turn was good for the pair as well, and the [KS] on the river just solidified the outcome that gave Rabbiej an eighth place finish and $18,183,80 to go with it.
Next at risk was bigsexyKN, who started the hand with a raise. When ckingusc came in for a reraise, bigsexyKN pushed all-in for more than 9 million chips with [AD]-[KC]. ckingusc called with [AH]-[JD] but caught the key card on the flop of [JC]-[QS]-[3H]. The [6D] on the turn and [8H] on the river made it hold, and bigsexyKN was out with a seventh place finish worth $27,671.00.
The next significant hand began with *xen making an all-in move preflop but 1GENERAL_TAO calling all-in for his last 8,925,126 with pocket jacks. *xen turned over [KC]-[QD], and the race was on. That was until the flop came [10D]-[10S]-[QH]. With an uneventful [4H] on the turn and [3C] on the river, *xen won the pot with the higher two pair, and 1GENERAL_TAO was forced out in sixth place with a $40,320.60 consolation prize.
The tournament life of Liqqa was the next to be on the line with the short-stacked player all-in preflop holding [JH]-[8C] in the small blind. But reef2287 was there with the call and [AD]-[8H], the dominating hand. The board ran out [QD]-[KC]-[8D]-[AS]-[6C], and that was all it took to eliminate Liqqa in fifth place, which was worth $56,132.60.
Despite reef2287’s elimination of Liqqa, reef2287 was unable to gain much momentum and finally pushed all-in preflop with [9C]-[2S] from the small blind. But ckingusc wouldn’t let that go and made the call with pocket eights from the big blind. The board brought nothing for the short stack when it produced [JS]-[4D]-[3D]-[7S]-[AS] to eliminate reef2287 in fourth place with $71,944.60.
Three-handed play began and continued for some time, and with ckingusc uninterested in any chop talk, the trio played it out. Finally, after an initial raise by ckingusc, bbs99 raised it up, but ckingusc did the same. bbs99 responded with an all-in move with pocket deuces, and ckingusc called with [JS]-[8S]. The board gave ckingusc the advantage on the flop when it came [9D]-[3D]-[JC], and the [KS] turn and [4S] river finished the hand, leaving bbs99 out in third place with $88,547.20 for the effort.
Heads-up action started with the following counts:
Seat 3: ckingusc (48,778,949 in chips)
Seat 4: *xen (30,281,051 in chips)
As ckingusc extended the chip lead, it was up to *xen to look for a spot and make a serious move to reverse the trend. That happened when *xen pushed all-in preflop with [AH]-[KD] versus the pocket fours of ckingusc. The board came [AC]-[5H]-[9D]-[8C]-[9H], giving the double-up to *xen, along with the chip lead.
The heads-up battle soon verged on epic, as *xen kept the chip lead for some time but ckingusc never gave up or got involved without the goods. ckingusc took a 12 million-chip pot to tighten the difference between the two at one point, but *xen continued to chip away at the 2008 WCOOP champion.
Eventually, ckingusc found his spot. The hand started with a raise from *xen, a reraise from ckingusc, and all-in move by *xen, and an all-in call from ckingusc with pocket eights, which were up against the [KS]-[10H] of *xen. The board brought [6S]-[10S]-[QD]-[KH]-[8S] to give ckingusc the double-up and the 2-to-1 chip lead.
It only took a few hands for *xen to feel the need to push, and he did it preflop with pocket nines. It just so happened that ckingusc woke up with pocket jacks on the same hand and had *xen dominated. The board reduced the short stacks’ outs as it came [2C]-[7H]-[KS]-[8S], and the [JC] only served to seal the deal and give *xen a second place finish. A solid payout of $130,607.12 was the reward.
With that, Zachary “ckingusc” King, became the latest Sunday Million champion, with a $193,697.00 prize to show for it. More importantly, King added a Sunday Million title to his solid list of online poker accomplishments, which included the impressive 2008 WCOOP main event victory in September of 2008, which was worth $1,265,432 and much respect in the poker community. With this Sunday Million title and nearly $200,000 to add to his resume, the young poker pro can be proud of this victory. Congratulations!
Sunday Million Results for 03/22/09:
1st place: ckingusc ($193,697.00)
2nd place: *xen ($130,607.12)
3rd place: bbs99 ($88,547.20)
4th place: reef2287 ($71,944.60)
5th place: Liqqa ($56,132.60)
6th place: 1GENERAL_TAO ($40,320.60)
7th place: bigsexyKN ($27,671.00)
8th place: Rabbiej ($18,183.80)
9th place: tpreston ($11,068.40)
For more information on ways to register and qualify for upcoming Sunday Million tournaments, visit the Sunday Million page.