A little over ten years ago PokerStars began what has become a signature tradition on the site, a weekly $215 no-limit hold’em tournament with a $1 million prize pool known as the Sunday Million. Or, more affectionately, the “Milly,” the nickname perhaps sounding like something given to a family member or close friend.
The Milly has indeed become a regular part of thousands of poker players’ lives over the years, and it only seemed fitting PokerStars would make it something a little more special to mark its 10th anniversary, putting a hefty $10 million guarantee on this week’s tournament with at least $1 million of that scheduled to go to the winner (barring a final table deal).
The field was predictably enormous, and after 15-and-a-half hours of poker it was Canada’s a.urli claiming the final pot and the victory, earning an incredible $970,000 payday following a four-handed final table deal.
There were more than 22,000 players already seated around 2,500-plus tables when the first hands of the tournament were dealt Sunday afternoon. Three hours later late registration closed along with the re-entry option, a twist added to this special anniversary edition of the Sunday Million (usually a freezeout) that allowed players to enter up to three times.
By then there were a whopping 55,059 entries total for the event. That added up to a $11,011,800 prize pool, making it the third-largest prize pool in a decade’s worth of Sunday Millions — click here for a historical walkthrough of the entire ten years — with the top 8,208 places paid. In other words, more players cashed this week than typically play in the Sunday Million.
Well over 25,000 were still left at the three-hour mark, and a hour after that the field had been carved down under 14,000. By the early part of the tournament’s sixth hour the bubble had burst, and midway through the ninth hour they were down under 1,000 — still a long way to go.
They’d just crossed the 10-hour mark when the field was carved under 200 players, then by 12 hours there were less than 50. Thirteen hours into the event they were down to just 18 players around the last two tables, with juan_cde55 then leading with close to 80 million.
IsItRoss? (18th), Gary “GaryT20” Thompson (17th), and Jamaikaner04 (16th) were the next players eliminated, each earning $38,936.62. SteRooney93 (15th), camachoycano (14th), and cojiño (13th) followed, picking up $52,416.16 apiece. After losing two big all-ins with pocket sixes, former leader juan_cde55 next was eliminated in 12th, followed by emicos (11th) and silasinho (10th), with those three each cashing for $70,694.65.
With a.urli the new chip leader with more than 177 million and mladenova62 the nearest challenger with just over 95 million, the final table was underway.
Seat 1: Superfizzy (Germany) — 37,841,339
Seat 2: mladenova62 (Bulgaria) — 95,105,837
Seat 3: prophetdream (South Korea) — 28,756,039
Seat 4: a.urli (Canada) — 177,403,220
Seat 5: ThreeBetting (United Kingdom) — 52,587,466
Seat 6: AttiIa88 (Russia) — 57,563,515
Seat 7: TottiLitti (Finland) — 40,403,866
Seat 8: canario508 (Argentina) — 36,516,940
Seat 9: Torsvik (Norway) — 24,411,778
Torsvik taken out in ninth
prophetdream survived an early all-in with pocket sevens versus Attila88’s ace-jack, then on the following hand canario508 did the same with ace-queen versus a.urli’s eight-seven.
On the next hand after that, the blinds were 1.5M/3M when Attila88 open-shoved from the cutoff seat and Torsvik called all-in with the 13,611,778 left after posting the big blind. Attlia88 had 5♦5♠ and Torsvik A♦K♦, and five cards later — 7♣Q♥9♠8♥5♣ — Attila88 had a set of fives and Torsvik was out in ninth.
TottiLitti tumbled in eighth
At that point deal discussion began in earnest in the chatbox, but play continued without the tournament being paused. Small pots (relatively speaking) were the norm over the next 15 minutes, then came a hand in which it folded around to TottiLitti in the small blind who pushed all-in with a stack of 40,803,866 (just over 10 big blinds) and canario508 called in a flash.
TottiLitti had but 6♣2♦ and was in bad shape as canario508 had woken up with K♠K♥. The board came 2♥J♣9♥9♦10♠, leaving TottiLitti with a lesser two pair and an eighth-place finish.
Attila88 stopped in seventh
Superfizzy next survived an all-in after chopping a pot with leader a.urli, then prophetdream doubled through canario508, and they reached the next break with a.urli leading by a wide margin with more than 227 million — well over twice the nearest challenger and just about half the chips in play with seven left.
Soon after play resumed it was Attila88 open-shoving from under the gun for 46,219,254 (just over nine BBs) then watching prophetdream reshove from the button to isolate. Attila88 had A♥J♥ and was dominated by prophetdream’s A♠K♦. Five cards later — 3♣6♠Q♦2♥7♦ — Attila88 had been sent railward in seventh.
Superfizzy fizzles in sixth
Soon it was a.urli limping from the cutoff and ThreeBetting (button) and canario508 (small blind) both calling. Superfizzy then shoved for 6,253,873 total — just a bit over the 5M big blind — and all three of the others called.
The remaining trio checked it down as the board came K♥Q♠J♠5♥3♠. SuperFizzy had A♣2♥, but a.urli’s A♦8♠ meant a better kicker and no one else could beat that, thus ending SuperFizzy’s run in sixth.
ThreeBetting makes last reraise, ousted in fifth
Five minutes later mladenova62 opened with a 4x raise to 20 million from the cutoff, then ThreeBetting three-bet to 27,121,059 and mladenova62 called right away, turning over A♠K♦ while ThreeBetting had 6♠6♣.
The flop was bad for ThreeBetting, coming K♥K♣J♠ to give mladenova62 trip kings. The turn was the 8♦ and river the 3♥, and ThreeBetting was eliminated in fifth.
Doing the deal
A short-stacked canario508 managed another double-up — through leader a.urli again — and a few hands later the tournament was paused so the final four could talk about a possible chop. With more than $2.85 million still left in the prize pool to be divided between the four, it was perhaps understandable negotiations wouldn’t be simple.
a.urli was still leading with a little over 206 million, prophetdream was next with about 159 million, mladenova62 was third with about 115 million, and canario508 fourth with a touch over 69 million. “Chip chop” numbers were provided (not “ICM”) — leaving $100K aside for the winner — and this is how those proposed payouts looked:
a.urli wasn’t satisfied, wanting $900K and not ready to budge. When the other three couldn’t all agree to that ultimatum, the deal was scuttled and play resumed.
Five small pots were won, and when a.urli typed “870k is fine if you guys wanna deal” during the fifth one the group managed to stop the proceedings once more with the stacks very close to what they were at the previous pause — a.urli (207.8M), prophetdream (155.2M), mladenova62 (125.7M), then canario508 (61.8M). “Chip chop” numbers were provided a second time, again setting aside the $100K:
a.urli brought up the $870K figure again, and as that discussion continued canario508 asked to see “ICM”-based figures as well. Leaving $100K for the winner, the “ICM”-based deal looked like this:
prophetdream agreed to the latter set of numbers, but a.urli said “no deal” and it looked like the group was headed toward another impasse. That’s when prophetdream came up with a new set of figures satisfying a.urli’s desire for $870K, and the conversation was extended. Here’s what those new numbers looked like:
A four-player chorus heralding “I agree” quickly followed, and the deal was done!
canario508 cut down in fourth
Not long after play resumed, the blinds were 3M/6M when canario508 open-pushed from the button for 46,243,590 holding A♦8♣, and prophetdream called from the big blind with K♣J♦.
The 8♦3♣Q♦ flop was okay for canario508 as was the 9♠ turn, but the 10♠ river filled a straight for prophetdream, and canario508 was done in fourth.
prophetdream dropped in third
Five minutes after that prophetdream open-raised all-in from the button for 70,487,000 — about 11.5 BBs — then a.urli reraised all-in from the small blind and mladenova62 stepped aside.
prophetdream had K♠Q♠ and needed help versus a.urli’s A♣7♥, and the 3♣9♣4♦ flop didn’t provide any. But the K♣ turn did, putting prophetdream in the lead with a pair of kings. Then came the river… the Q♣!. Two pair for prophetdream, but a club flush for a.urli and prophetdream was out in third.
“Well, did you have a dream that you would prophet $678k?” quipped Lee Jones in the chatbox as prophetdream departed to leave the final two players to play out the tournament’s conclusion.
a.urli rolls over mladenova62, grabs extra $100k and win
a.urli had the edge to start heads-up play with 321,470,104 (about 53 BBs) to mladenova62’s 229,119,896 (38 BBs). The pair would quickly play 18 hands in six minutes, with a.urli chipping up further to more than 454 million while mladenova62 slipped to just over 96 million. Then at long last the final hand took place.
With the blinds at 3.5M/7M, a.urli shoved all-in from the button and mladenova62 called in response, turning over 4♦4♠ and hoping the small pair would hold against a.urli’s 10♠8♠.
The 8♦5♥Q♥ flop hit the latter’s hand, however, and after the 9♦ turn and K♠ river it was all over — a.urli had won!
Congratulations to a.urli who after buying in just a single time turned $215 into $970,000 — over 4,500 times the cost to play! And kudos as well to mladenova62, prophetdream, and canario508 for each making it to the four-way deal and carrying off huge paydays as well in this week’s Milly!
3/20/16 Sunday Million 10th Anniversary ($215 No-Limit Hold’em, $10M Gtd) results
Prize pool: $11,011,800.00
Places paid: 8,208
1. a.urli (Canada) $970,000.00*
2. mladenova62 (Bulgaria) $650,000.00*
3. prophetdream (South Korea) $678.517.78*
4. canario508 (Argentina) $560,000.00*
5. ThreeBetting (United Kingdom) $318,415.00
6. Superfizzy (Germany) $235,653.62
7. AttiIa88 (Russia) $174,402.68
8. TottiLitti (Finland) $129,071.51
9. Torsvik (Norway) $95,522.96
* = denotes a four-way deal leaving $100,000 for the winner
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.