This year’s Super Bowl might have failed to live up to the expectations of all but the Seattle faithful, but the Sunday Million that ran simultaneously here at PokerStars was anything but a disappointment. That was especially true for one player who had cashed in the tournament many times in the past, including a couple of deep runs, without making it as far as the final table.
The big game stole away a few hundred players to leave this week’s field at 7,709, down a bit from the last few weeks, but that was still enough to build a prize pool of $1.54 million and leave more than $231K at the end for the winner. It took 12 hours and nine minutes for the field to shrink to just the nine finalists, playing on the 100K/200K/20K level:
Seat 1: jl_slz (5,989,082 in chips)
Seat 2: Sytraxx (12,918,113 in chips)
Seat 3: R0bbed0es (2,674,940 in chips)
Seat 4: IMS DURNK (9,207,980 in chips)
Seat 5: rava123 (6,734,592 in chips)
Seat 6: Odintsov Spb (13,118,290 in chips)
Seat 7: fullhouseiii (13,169,097 in chips)
Seat 8: rorschach550 (2,170,026 in chips)
Seat 9: ArtemZ (11,107,880 in chips)
A sleepy start
The stacks ranged from 65 big blinds at the top to 10 at the bottom, broken into three clear tiers: four players in the lead with at least 55 big blinds, three with between 30 and 46 big blinds, and two with 13 big blinds or less. With the jump from 9th place to 7th coming out to almost $19,000 there wasn’t much incentive for the medium stacks to get overinvolved without a strong hand. The short stacks had slightly weaker standards but would still want something substantial to go all-in with. That left the big stacks to run the show.
Of the first 10 hands at the final table, only one saw the river and only one more saw the turn. The pots stayed mostly below 10 big blinds until Hand #11 saw two of the top-tier stacks go to battle. IMS DURNK from Finland opened for a minimum raise to 500K in second position, holding A♣ K♣. Norway’s fullhouseiii called in the hijack before ArtemZ from the Ukraine re-raised to 1.55M. That cleared out the blinds and put the action back on IMS DURNK, who thought briefly before jamming for 8.82M. fullhouseiii folded and ArtemZ called with J♦ J♥. The jacks were only good until the 2♦ 6♣ K♦ flop, and after the Q♣ turn and 5♦ river IMS DURNK was the new chip leader with 18.74M, just over 93 big blinds.
That monster pot served as the icebreaker for the table, which soon saw short stacks begin to double up with regularity. The next hand saw rorschach550 from the United Kingdom double through the Netherlands’ Sytraxx, shoving for 2.8M with 4♥ 4♠ and having the pair hold up against the A♠ Q♥ of Dutch player Sytraxx. Hand #13 kept the trend going as ArtemZ clawed back some of those lost chips from two hands earlier, three-betting all-in for 2.11M with A♣ 10♠ and winning against fullhouseiii’s 8♣ 7♣ without improving on the 2♠ 4♣ 3♥ J♠ 4♥ board. And on Hand #20 R0bbed0es from the Netherlands moved in for 1.52M under the gun with Q♠ 10♥, which paired on the turn of a 6♠ 4♣ 7♠ 10♦ 4♥ board to beat Sytraxx’s A♣ 2♣.
The table was still full after two full orbits, and the next 15 hands were mostly raise-and-take-it poker with the occasional three-bet from a big stack like IMS DURNK or Russia’s Odintsov Spb, or a pot won with a continuation bet on the flop. Hand #36 saw ArtemZ double again, this time to 7.96M by cracking Sytraxx’s J♣ J♠ with A♠ 10♦, but then the table fell back into a passive default stance as the blinds and antes reached 200K/400K/40K.
It wasn’t until Hand #55 that the long wait for an elimination would end. IMS DURNK picked up A♣ A♥ and opened for a minimum raise of 800K and was the only caller after rorschach550 three-bet all-in for 1.64M on the button. The U.K. player’s A♠ J♠ paired on the 8♥ J♥ 9♦ flop but improved no further on the K♠ turn or 6♦ river, leaving the tournament in 9th place ($11,948.95).
Just two hands later Brazil’s jl_slz would be the next short stack to put it all on the line, jamming for 3.81M on the button over the top of Odintov Spb’s 800K opener. The Russian called with Q♦ Q♥ and was a favorite to win against A♣ J♥ through the 4♦ 3♣ 8♠ flop and 5♠ turn, but jl_slz got there the hard way with a 2♣ on the river to win the 8.54M-chip pot. That left Sytraxx as the short stack, and the Dutch player moved in for 3.1M from the button on Hand #66 with A♦ Q♠. R0bbed0es matched that bet with A♠ K♦, which held up on the K♠ 5♥ 4♣ J♣ 4♦ board to knock Sytraxx out in 8th place ($17,730.70).
Hand #73 saw IMS DURNK get involved in the second monster pot of the final table, this time on the other end of the proceedings:
A new leader, and IMS DURNK takes the long way home
With that, fullhouseiii took over the lead and the new chip counts looked like this:
Seat 1: jl_slz (10,188,164 in chips)
Seat 3: R0bbed0es (7,660,727 in chips)
Seat 4: IMS DURNK (14,254,315 in chips)
Seat 5: rava123 (2,699,592 in chips)
Seat 6: Odintsov Spb (16,544,208 in chips)
Seat 7: fullhouseiii (19,883,394 in chips)
Seat 9: ArtemZ (5,859,600 in chips)
Blinds and antes were now up to 250K/500K/50K. fullhouseiii pulled further ahead five hands later by picking off a river bluff from Odintsov Spb while holding just third pair on a 6♦ Q♥ 3♣ 8♦ 10♠. That took down a 9.1M-chip pot and dropped Odintsov Spb back into the middle of the pack. Then IMS DURNK picked up some lost chips after raising the minimum to 1M on the button with Q♥ 5♦. Estonia’s rava123 moved in for 109K more with 10♣ 9♥ but lost out to trip fives on the 5♥ 2♣ 6♦ 5♠ 8♥ board to finish in 7th place ($30,836).
ArtemZ was now on the bubble and the Ukrainian player was prepared to scrap for every last chip. A blind-versus-blind win with A♣ 6♣ against fullhouseiii’s K♣ 5♦ on Hand #88 gave ArtemZ 7.43M chips to work with, just a few big blinds ahead of short-stacked R0bbed0es. But IMS DURNK would be the next one on the bubble after losing a major pot on Hand #94. The Norwegian, holding Q♦ Q♥, opened for a minimum raise to 1M in the cutoff and called for 8.32M more after Odintov Spb jammed on the button. The Russian showed K♣ J♠ and jumped ahead with two pair on the K♥ 9♥ J♥ flop. IMS DURNK had outs to a straight, a flush, and a set, but the 8♦ turn and 2♦ river were blanks and Odintsov Spb won the 19.69M chips in the middle.
Now left with just two big blinds, IMS DURNK needed some big help from the deck – and got it, starting on Hand #96:
Two hands later IMS DURNK picked up K♣ K♦ and doubled through jl_slz’s A♥ 10♥ to stack up to 8.45M. And on Hand #104 the Norwegian got back to the middle of the pack thanks to another pocket pair. The action on the hand opened with a minimum raise to 1.2M from fullhouseiii under the gun. ArtemZ shoved for 5.94M in the hijack seat, and the IMS DURNK moved in for 7.5M in the small blind, good enough to scare everyone else out of the pot. That left ArtemZ’s A♠ 6♠ up against Q♦ Q♥, which proved a task too great after the board came 8♦ 9♥ 8♠ 2♥ 4♣, sending ArtemZ to the rail in 6th place ($46,254).
Odintsov Spb moved back into the lead on Hand #112, after raising to 1.2M before the A♣ 10♥ 7♠ flop and leading for 2.1M both there and on the A♥ turn. fullhouseiii called all three of those bets and bet 3.46M into the 10.2M-chip pot on the 4♦ river, but could only show Q♠ 10♣ when Odintsov Spb called. Q♣ Q♥ was good for a pot of 17.13M, which gave the Russian a total stack of 32.23M. fullhouseiii got the last two streets’ worth of chips back just three hands later after three-betting to 4.8M with A♥ 7♥ in the big blind. Original raiser R0bbed0es called all-in with K♠ J♥ but couldn’t connect with the A♠ 4♦ 5♦ 4♥ 10♦ board, leaving in 5th place ($77,706.72).
The attention was now on IMS DURNK, who had navigated back from the brink of elimination, and jl_slz, who had enjoyed few opportunities to move ahead throughout the final table so far. Both players had less than 10 million chips, and with the blinds and antes up to 400K/800K/80K there was great pressure on them to find a way to survive. The next 21 hands went by without either making up significant ground or dropping too far behind, but the last three of those were won by IMS DURNK to move 6.6M ahead of jl_slz. Thus the Brazilian player was feeling the pressure while sitting in the small blind with A♠ 8♥ on Hand #137. An all-in move of 7.29M followed Odintsov Spb’s opening min-raise of 1.6M, putting the Brazilian up against A♥ Q♠. The board ran out Q♥ 6♦ 2♠ 9♥ 5♥, the favorite won with a pair of queens, and jl_slz finished the tournament in 4th place ($77,706.72).
The home stretch
The last three players were now stacked like so:
Seat 4: IMS DURNK (11,151,498 in chips)
Seat 6: Odintsov Spb (47,520,654 in chips)
Seat 7: fullhouseiii (18,417,848 in chips)
They agreed to look at numbers for a potential deal, but neither of the short stacks was willing to budge as much as Odintsov Spb wanted over ICM. Once play resumed both of them began to attack the Russian player’s stack, winning eight of the next 10 pots between them. That included a big double-up for IMS DURNK with A♦ Q♣ after opening for a minimum raise on the button and being moved all-in by Odintsov Spb in the small blind with A♣ 7♦. The friendly 10♦ 5♠ 8♠ K♠ 8♣ board gave IMS DURNK the 26.06M-chip pot and a lifeline back into the match. Then the Finnish player capped off a remarkable comeback by retaking the lead with an all-in, pre-flop five-bet and then solidifying it with a strong call against fullhouseiii:
IMS DURNK took over the match from that point, winning five of the next seven pots before losing with K♦ J♦ to an all-in fullhouseiii’s Q♦ 6♦. That prompted Odintsov Spb to get aggressive and win three of the next four, in the process crawling back to within four big blinds of taking the lead. And then the aggression tipped a little too far at the wrong moment.
The action started on Hand #167 with IMS DURNK opening for 1.88M in the small blind Odintsov Spb three-bet to 3.6M and IMS DURNK called to bring a 6♥ 6♣ 3♣ flop. IMS DURNK check-called 2.4M there, and both players checked the 8♥ on the turn. When the 8♠ came on the river, IMS DURNK thought for a bit before betting 7.77M into the 12.24M-chip pot. Another pause ended with Obintsov Spb moving all-in for 23.08M total – and IMS DURNK called immediately. The Norwegian tabled 9♣ 8♣ for a rivered full house, topping Odintsov Spb’s stone cold bluff with Q♥ 5♣ and eliminating the Russian player in 3rd place ($115,635).
IMS DURNK’s held 61.13M chips to fullhouseiii’s 15.95M as heads-up began, but most of them would never be put into play again. The leader won the first pot without a fight before the flop. Then on Hand #169, fullhouseiii moved in for 14.75M on the button with A♣ 4♥ and IMS DURNK called with A♦ 9♣. Neither player improved on the 7♠ 6♥ 7♦ 2♠ 3♣ board, so the nine played and IMS DURNK claimed the pot – and with it this week’s Sunday Million title.
fullhouseiii earned $169,598 for the runner-up finish, more than four times as much as the Norwegian’s previous career best for winning the $109 Sunday Rebuy back in 2013. As for IMS DURNK, who had the most up-and-down path of any player at this final table, the win was worth $231,274.32. That’s more than 100 times the Finn’s best score in the Sunday Million out of more than a dozen previous cashes – and all after being down to just two big blinds, too. That’s a super Sunday result that IMS DURNK will be telling friends and family about for a long time to come.
2/2/14 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold’em) results
Prize pool: $1,541,800
Places paid: 1,170
1. IMS DURNK (Finland) $231,274.32
2. fullhouseiii (Norway) $169,598
3. Odintsov Spb (Russia) $115,635
4. jl_slz (Brazil) $77,706.72
5. R0bbed0es (Netherlands) $61,672
6. ArtemZ (Ukraine) $46,254
7. rava123 (Estonia) $30,836
8. Sytraxx (Netherlands) $17,730.70
9. rorschach550 (United Kingdom) $11,948.95
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.