Sunday Million Anniversary champ ‘Blackbeaty’ on his $931K victory: “This win changes everything”

March 28, 2022inPoker

A last-minute re-entry changed everything for Germany’s ‘Blackbeaty’. Here, the Sunday Million 16th Anniversary winner tells his story.


Three hours into the Sunday Million 16th Anniversary, “Blackbeaty” was eliminated.

Just like the tens of thousands of other players who entered, the 31-year-old student from Germany had been looking forward to the event for weeks and dreamed of winning the $1M first-place prize.

“The Sunday Million Anniversary event is a must for every poker player, so it was clear that I would try it,” he tells us.

Then, just like that, it was all over. He was out. He had the option to re-enter, of course, but at that stage in the tournament, a $215 entry would give him fewer than 25 big blinds.

He decided against it.

At that moment, one thing was for sure: it wasn’t going to be his name that was etched into the Sunday Million history books.


Blackbeaty is no stranger to big tournaments.

After learning 5-card draw from his father at an early age, his interest in poker really spiked when he watched the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Tilly and Doyle Brunson play no limit hold’em on TV.

“All I wanted was to know how this game works,” he says. “After a few weeks, when I finally understood what the rules were, I asked my friends at school if they had watched poker on TV and if they wanted to play together. They said yes and from then on we played poker regularly in small groups.”

When he turned 18, Blackbeaty was able to start playing sit & gos online for real money and his experience in short-handed games with friends resulted in him running up his initial deposit.

“I then switched to tournaments and was quite successful, resulting in my SCOOP win.”

Back in 2012, Blackbeaty took down the very first event of the year’s Spring Championship of Online Poker–a $27 No-Limit Hold’em 6-max tournament–for $74K.

He continued to have success in tournaments, even reaching the final table of the Sunday Million in November 2020. On that occasion, Blackbeaty finished sixth for $22K.

Now here he was, eliminated from the Sunday Million 16th Anniversary.

And there was to be a change of plan.


MORE ABOUT THE SUNDAY MILLION ANNIVERSARY:
SM16 ANNOUNCEMENT | SUNDAY MILLION TIMELINE | SUNDAY MILLION ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE
SM16 COVERAGE | 
VANESSA KADE (SM15 WINNER ) INTERVIEW


“Two to three hours later, I realised [this tournament] is only once a year, so I re-entered with 13 big blinds,” he says.

After winning a couple of coin flips, Blackbeaty survived his second bullet and entered Day 2 with a near-average stack. Throughout that second day, his stack hovered between 20 big blinds and 40 big blinds, meaning he never had a commanding chip position.

“But I did win nearly all of my important coinflips leading up to the final table.”

When the final nine were gathered around one table, Blackbeaty was seventh in chips. At the other big final tables he’d made, he remembers feeling nervous, constantly checking the pay jumps. But this time around he felt entirely calm. “Maybe it was because the prize money was already so high,” he says. “I’d reached my goal and from then on I could play completely freely, taking ICM concepts and experience into account.”

It didn’t take long for him to double up with pocket kings versus an opponent’s ace-four in a 50-big-blind pot.

“By this time all of the players knew that we were blessed and were already winners,” he says. “There was a certain amount of tension throughout the tournament as the jumps in prize money were already high among the last 100. But at the final table, where ninth place gets $88K, that fear was gone.

“For me, it was like a sit & go that I wanted to play as optimally as possible. [It was a different feeling] from my last Sunday Million final table.”

Blackbeaty navigated the final table with precision and ultimately found himself heads-up against Denmark’s “JanRas1983”, who had satellited into the event for just $11–their largest ever tournament buy-in.

“The pay jump was immense,” says Blackbeaty. “It was one-on-one for $250K. It’s bizarre. So we made a deal and still for to play for $50K.”

With the chip lead, Blackbeaty locked up $881K while JanRas1983 turned their $11 into an incredible $817K.

“I don’t think many can understand my motives, but after three days in the event, little sleep and pure joy, I was very happy to secure this high prize money. Mainly because we were still playing for $50K, which is absurdly high enough. So the negotiation was short and we quickly agreed on the ICM deal.”

In the final hand, Blackbeaty flopped trips. “It quickly dawned on me that this might be the last hand,” he says. “However, I was internally prepared for a longer heads-up and wanted to play a solid game right from the start without taking any unnecessary risks.”

But sometimes the Poker Gods take over. JanRas1983 committed almost his entire stack on the river and all Blackbeaty had to do was set him all-in for the remainder.

It was over.

Blackbeaty had gone from down and out, to re-entering with 13 big blinds, to becoming the Sunday Million 16th Anniversary champion, winning $931,885 for his efforts.

“It’s such an unreal result,” he says.

“In that moment, when the table closes and it says you’ve won, there is just infinite emptiness. You think it can’t be real and that you’re dreaming, as is often the case with dreams of winning big.

“Like, really? Is this the moment I always dreamed of? Had I finally achieved what I’d studied so many books, videos and coaching material for?

“Yes!” he says. “I made it!”


When the monumental result began to sink in, Blackbeaty found he couldn’t celebrate as he’d always imagined he would. The reason? He simply couldn’t take his eyes off his new PokerStars bankroll.

“I kept looking at the number–it looked like an IBAN without letters,” he says. “Basically, the sense of responsibility for managing and securing such a large sum in a sensible manner was greater than the joy [of winning]. But the joy is gradually coming through.”

As for how he’s going to enjoy his success, Blackbeaty is a true poker player through and through. “The first thing that came to my mind was to seek professional coaching so I can eliminate any leaks and play better both online and live,” he says.

“This win changes everything. My family and I are moving. And from that point on, I would like to pursue my passion and put my professional focus on poker so I can regularly play online and live events to the extent that I’ve always wanted and dreamed of.

“Now I have the chance to do it and I won’t let it get away. I noticed early in my career that if you pursue your goals with passion, volume and learning sessions, you’ll eventually achieve them. And once you’ve achieved it, you should do everything you can to keep improving so that it doesn’t remain an exception.

“I hope that this point in time is just the start.”

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