It’s come around again.

On March 21 — ie., this coming weekend — PokerStars will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Sunday Million. As is now customary, the landmark will not be allowed to pass without fanfare, and so there will be another enormous Sunday Million Anniversary Event, with a guaranteed $12.5 million in the prize pool.

This time last year, the guarantee was the same for the anniversary event, and we talked excitedly about it being the biggest tournament PokerStars had ever hosted. The tournament then went and smashed through the guarantee, with the prize pool topping $18.6 million.

It ended up being the biggest in all categories: entries, prize pool and first prize.

Its winner, Brazil’s Alex “AAAArthur” Brito, went through a long qualification path to get into the event, starting with a $0.25 Spin & Go. He ended with $1,192,802, the most ever awarded in a Sunday Million Anniversary tournament, even after doing a three-way deal.


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Though we can never be too bold in our predictions, we will be very happy if we reach anything like those heights again this year. The Sunday Million Anniversary events have become a popular landmark on the PokerStars players’ calendar — and here’s a look at the raw stats from these events.

Scroll down to see a bit more detail on how they all played out, as well as a few quirks from the tournament history.

SUNDAY MILLION ANNIVERSARY EVENTS

Year Entries Prize pool Winner Country Prize
14th 2020 93,016 $18,602,300 AAAArthur Brazil $1,192,802.46
13th 2019 61,342 $12,268,400 wangli0402 China $611,944.97
12th 2018 43,975 $10,000,000 Luis “Hulk9950” Felipe Brazil $960,000.00
11th 2017 55,835 $11,167,000 Xavi666 Panama $1,093,204.63
10th 2016 55,059 $11,011,800 a.urli Canada $970,000.00
9th 2015 50,432 $10,086,400 Brayden “BRAYDEN93” Fritzshall Mexico $597,719.60
8th 2014 46,586 $9,317,200 DrUPSWING Germany $1,038,540.31
7th 2013 49,287 $9,857,400 Andrius “benislovas” Bielskis Lithuania $848,589.33
6th 2012 33,732 $6,746,400 slyfox151 Netherlands $480,761.38
5th 2011 59,128 $11,825,600 Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel USA $671,093.81
1st 2007 10,508 $2,101,600 Zeddor Denmark $131,972.00

ANNIVERSARY STAT TRACKER

Through 11 Sunday Million Anniversary events, there have been:

Entries: 558,900
Total prize pools: $112,984,100.00
First-place prizes: $8,596,628.49


THE BIGGESTS

All of the biggests were set last year, in the 2020 anniversary event:

Most entries: 93,016 (2020)
Most unique players: 60,898 (2020)
Biggest prize pool: $18,602,300 (2020)
Biggest single prize: $1,192,802.46 (Alex “AAAArthur” Brito – 2020)


SUNDAY MILLION ANNIVERSARY QUIRKS

Chop-happy: All but one Sunday Million Anniversary events have ended in a deal. In 2011, players came to a nine-handed arrangement, leaving only the bonus prize — a Lamborghini Gallardo — to play for.

Every loser wins: On five occasions, the title winner in a Sunday Million Anniversary event did not actually win the most money. Here are those five “losers” who actually walked away with most:

2019: t4rz4n_21, Greece, $625,073.37
2015: kelly_koulis, Greece, $725,267.11
2012: HesBluffingx, New Zealand, $552,972.89
2011: wrzr123, Germany, $844,209.87
2007: nickym998, United Kingdom, $160,949.52

International field: Alex “AAAArthur” Brito became the second player from Brazil to win a Sunday Million Anniversary event, the only time a country has won twice. Players representing 10 different countries won the first 10 anniversary tournaments. (Although both Brayden “BRAYDEN93” Fritzshall and Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel are American, Fritzshall was based in Mexico when he won the 9th Anniversary tournament in 2015.)


HOW THEY PLAYED OUT

2020 – 14th Anniversary
Entries: 93,016 (inc. 32,118 re-entries)
Guarantee: $12.5 million
Prize pool: $18,602,300
Winner: Alex “AAAArthur” Brito (Brazil) – $1,192,802.46
Notes: Four players arranged a deal to bring this one to its conclusion, with Brazil, Romania, Lithuania and the United Kingdom having a stake in the negotiations. Brito had the biggest stack and so locked up the most, with the UK’s “caroline2963” earning $786,873.65, which was the least of the final four. caroline2963 eventually finished third. The deal left $50K on the side, and eventually the two biggest stacks, Brito and Stefan “CrAzY_sTeFaN” Piele Dragos were heads up for the title. Brito had a 2-1 chip lead when they got it all in, both holding pocket pairs. Brito’s 2♠2♦ ended up out-flopping Dragos’s 5♥5♠ to lock up the win.
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2019 – 13th Anniversary
Entries: 61,342 (inc. 15,413 re-entries)
Guarantee: $10 million
Prize pool: $12,268,400
Winner: wangli0402 (China) – $611,944.97
Notes: This one ended in a five-way chop, with $50,000 left on the table for the winner. Greece’s “t4rz4n_21” was chip-leader at the time of the deal and took $625,073.37, which was the biggest share.
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2018 – 12th Anniversary
Entries: 43,975 (inc. 9,701 re-entries)
Guarantee: $10 million
Prize pool: $10 million
Winner: Luis “Hulk9950” Felipe (Brazil) $960,000
Notes: The Sunday Million Anniversary overlayed for the first time in its history, but it still paid out an enormous $960K first prize after a three-way deal. Brazil’s “Hulk9950” took the largest portion of the agreed prizes and then also closed it out to pick up the $200,000 left to play for. Bulgaria’s “kapchin” finished second and won $707,574.
BLOG REPORT | REPLAY | WINNER INTERVIEW

2017 – 11th Anniversary
Entries: 55,835 (inc. 11,818 re-entries)
Guarantee: $10 million
Prize pool: $11,167,000
Winner: Xavi666 (Panama) – $1,093,204.63
Notes: For the first time in eight renewals, the anniversary tournament played to its champion without a chop of the prize money. Eventual ninth-placed finisher “RTAPEX” proposed a nine-way deal, which nobody went for, and then the last four at least agreed to look at the numbers. But Panama’s “Xavi666” turned down the chop at that stage — and was proven right to do so. He went all the way to the top spot and the near $1.1 million prize.
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2016 – 10th Anniversary
Entries: 55,059
Guarantee: $10 million
Prize pool: $11,011,800
Winner: “a.urli” (Canada) — $970,000
Notes: Canada’s “a.urli” was the chip leader coming into the final and clung on to it throughout, allowing him to lay down the terms for a four-handed deal. He demanded $870,000, leaving $100K to play for, and then won that too for a near $1m payday.
BLOG REPORT | REPLAY

2015 – 9th Anniversary
Entries: 50,432
Guarantee: $9 million
Prize pool: $10,086,400
Winner: Brayden “BRAYDEN93” Fritzshall (Mexico) — $597,719.60
Notes: Players in this one arranged a seven-way chop, leaving $100,000 to play for, as well as the title. At the time of the deal, Fritzshall was in fourth place, so guaranteed himself the fourth-highest slice of the payouts, which he then bolstered with the $100K for the win. Greece’s “kelly_koulis” ended with the most money — $725,267.11 — but officially finished second.
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2014 – 8th Anniversary
Entries: 46,586
Guarantee: $8 million
Prize pool: $9,317,200
Winner: DrUPSWING (Germany) — $1,038,540.31
Notes: Two Germans were left at the end of the tournament, with “DrUPSWING” holding a significant advantage over “hdjgkfkgsdl”. However the latter doubled twice, bringing the counts level, and the players arranged a near-even deal, with $160,000 left to play for. That would guarantee a first prize of more than $1 million for the first time in an anniversary event. hdjgkfkgsdl finished second and took $877,090.19.
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2013 – 7th Anniversary
Entries: 49,287
Guarantee: $7 million
Prize pool: $9,857,400
Winner: Andrius “benislovas” Bielskis (Lithuania) — $848,589.33
Notes: Eventual champion “benislovas” was third of three players remaining when they decided to chop the prize money, leaving $140,000 to play for. At that stage the UK’s Dave “sexygee” Gent was chip leader and locked up the biggest prize of $836,321.83.
BLOG REPORT | REPLAY | WINNER INTERVIEW

2012 – 6th Anniversary
Entries: 33,732
Guarantee: $8 million
Prize pool: $6,746,400
Winner: slyfox151 (Netherlands) — $480,761.38
Notes: There was originally due to be $1,064,737.08 up top for the winner of this one, but the last eight instead negotiated a chop from which New Zealand’s “HesBluffingx” locked up $552,972.89 for himself, which was the largest slice. “slyfox151” came to the final with only five big blinds, the shortest stack, but got sevens to beat aces all in pre-flop, for a double and then battled to the end and defeated the UK’s “blodders03” heads-up. slyfox151 had previously won the Sunday Warm-Up, in 2008.
BLOG REPORT | REPLAY

2011 – 5th Anniversary
Entries: 59,128
Guarantee: $5 million, inc. $1m for first, plus Lamborghini Gallardo
Prize pool: $11,825,600
Winner: Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel (USA) ($671,093.81 & Lamborghini Gallardo)
Notes: The last nine players paused final table action after only about 10 hands and decided to chop it nine ways. The winner was originally set for a $1.66 million payout, with $40,000 guaranteed for ninth, and so they quickly opted to level it out. Part of the reason for the chop was that there was still a hefty prize to play for. PokerStars offered a Lamborghini Gallardo to the winner, and it was the car left to play for, worth around $200,00. Germany’s “wrzr123” took the biggest payout of $844,209.87.
BLOG REPORT | REPLAY | WINNER INTERVIEW

2007 — 1st Anniversary
Entries: 10,508
Guarantee: $1.5 million
Prize pool: $2,101,600
Winner: Zeddor (Denmark) $131,972
Notes: The first anniversary event brought the first chop, with the prize money divided among the last five. “nickym998” took the largest portion, banking $160,950, before Denmark’s Zeddor took the title. The $1.5 million guarantee for the tournament was the first time the Sunday MILLION grew bigger than its title.
BLOG REPORT

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