For most of us, the Sunday Million is the biggest ‘shot take’ of the week. Even if you don’t normally play $109 buy-in tournaments, the idea of turning that amount into six figures in one night is pretty darn exciting, even for professionals players (at least half of this week’s final table were pros).
A great place to practice for the $109 Sunday Million is the $22 Mini Sunday Millon–a fifth of the buy-in but with a similar structure. It’s a tournament that this week’s champion, Brazil’s Vinicius “viniperri” Perri, knows very well indeed. He’s won it once and final tabled it a further two times.
“I’ve had excellent results in the Mini Milly,” Perri tells PokerStars Blog the day after winning the main version for $111,769. “They’re two similar tourneys with good structures, huge prizes, and huge fields made up of recs and pros.”
Perri, a 27-year-old pro who plays five to six days a week for 8-10 hours at a time with an average buy-in of $35, has been taking his shot in the Sunday Million every week for a while. Now his name can be added to the long list of Brazilian winners.
“Poker came up in Brazil as a mental game, not a casino game,” he tells us. “People in Brazil have a fire burning inside them, and now my passion is even bigger.”
Let’s take a look back at the November 10 edition of the $109 Sunday Million to see how Perri came out on top, featuring interviews with the winner himself, and other final table players including runner-up Ludmil “noob3r” Ivanov, a 29-year-old Bulgarian pro.
Great weekend for “timetopop87”
This week’s edition of the Milly attracted 10,890 entries, creating a $1,089,000 prize pool. After a long night of grinding the final nine players were gathered around a single table, and here’s how they stacked up:
H!tthehole (Canada) – 26,807,124
Ludmil “noob3r” Ivanov (Bulgaria) – 16,485,466
luvictor88 (Vietnam) – 14,938,601
Gergely “Wildace_hun” Kulcsár (Hungary) – 12,169,119
asker444 (Russia) – 9,651,146
Vinicius “viniperri” Perri (Brazil) –9,048,344
1mDonuts (Malta) – 8,108,550
Aaron “timetopop87” Stone (United Kingdom) – 5,829,638
GabiMuguruza (Ukraine) – 5,502,012
The UK’s Aaron “timetopop87” Stone, a 32-year-old professional from Devon, England, felt calm coming in. “I thought it would have been a surreal experience, but to be honest once I got there it just felt like another MTT final table and I had a job to do. It’s always pretty great making a final table though, this one especially,” he tells us.
Stone was riding a wave of momentum throughout his Sunday session, having won the $109 Bounty Builder on Saturday night for $3,930 plus a healthy addition in bounties. “I have been running very well of late, so in my experience that usually helps you make better decisions in general,” he says. “Winning the $109 BB definitely got me fired up to put a big session in on Sunday!”
That fire saw him chiplead the Sunday Million for much of the later stages. However, when they reached the final table Stone found himself with just 15 big blinds and “not much wiggle room”.
Picking up pocket kings on a 20-big-blind stack at the Sunday Million final table is the stuff dreams are made of. Unfortunately for Malta’s “1MDonuts”, the dream turned to a nightmare after his 2x open was called pre-flop by Russia’s “asker444” who held J♦8♦, and the flop brought two eights giving him trips. “1MDonuts” understandably couldn’t get away, and he was left with less than half a big blind. His tournament came to an end in ninth for $8,597.
Down to eight, Stone remained the table short stack when he picked up A♥K♠ on the button. Bulgaria’s Ludmil “noob3r” Ivanov had 2x opened with 7♣7♥ from the lojack, and Stone jammed for his now ten big blind stack. His shove was called, he couldn’t find help on a low runout, wrapping his weekend up with an $11,846 score.
As a full-time grinder who loves the game and “couldn’t do anything else, and wouldn’t want to”, don’t be surprised to see Stone notch up more big results in the future.
“I will generally have five full days of playing a full schedule per week, with two hours of study before each day,” he tells us. “Unless of course, it is SCOOP or WCOOP season, in that case, there are no days off!”
“Wildace_hun” caps off incredible Sunday
With seven players remaining, we saw the ultimate cooler. Ivanov (“noob3r”) opened with pocket kings while Perri awaited in the big blind with pocket aces. He three-bet to 7x, Ivanov jammed, and the board bricked out for the cowboys. “That’s the only hand from the final table I remember,” Ivanov tells us a couple of days later. “I was down to just seven big blinds and was very fortunate to get back in the game.”
He’d double up the very next hand with 10♠10♥ through the A♠4♠ of “asker444” (most of the money went in pre-flop), and then managed to ladder up a spot when Ukraine’s “GabiMuguruza” exited in seventh for $16,324 on the very next hand. His J♥J♦ couldn’t hold versus “asker444”s A♦Q♦ after an ace landed on the river.
Meanwhile, Perri had a dominating chip lead on the biggest final table of his career, and things got even better when he’d eliminate arguably the most experienced player remaining in the field.
Yep, if there was one player at the start of the final table who might have inspired gulps in the throats of the other eight, it was Gergely “Wildace_hun” Kulcsár. “The one player who definitely had an edge on me would have been ‘Wildace_hun’,” Stone tells us. “He’s a great player!”
The Hungarian pro–a former Platinum Pass winner who took down the 2018 Spring Championship of Online Poker Medium Main Event for $783K–was on an absolute tear Sunday evening, having already reached the final table of two High Roller Club events before the Sunday Million got down to nine.
Perri min-opened with A♣K♠ under the gun before “Wildace_hun” jammed for 13 big blinds with J♥J♠. Perri called and hit a king on the flop to eliminate a threat in sixth for $22,494. He then had almost double the chips of his nearest opponent, Canada’s “H!tthehole”.
An interesting hand played out five-handed which ultimately saw Russia’s “asker444” eliminated in fifth. He open-jammed with A♣J♥ under the gun, only for Vietnam’s “luviktor88” to jam over the top with K♦K♣ from the small blind. Ivanov was in the big blind holding a monster hand, A♥K♥, but he opted to lay it down and hope for the ladder. When the kings held up he did just that, and “asker444” was out for $30,996.
Ivanov doubled up a couple of hands later though through “H!tthehole”, and was then right back in the thick of it. The same couldn’t be said for “H!tthehole”, who a few hands later jammed with K♦10♦ on the button for 16 big blinds and was called by “luviktor88” in the big blind holding 10♥10♠. The case ten landed giving him a set, while “H!tthehole” would have to settle for fourth and $42,712.
Here’s where things really slowed down. The final table had gone from nine players to three in just 47 minutes, but this one wouldn’t end for another hour and 40 minutes.
The home stretch
After ten minutes of three-handed play, “luviktor88” had ground his way into the lead, which he’d continue to swap with Perri over the next hour. Things began to slip away from though, and when Perri opened with A♠10♥ on the button “luviktor88” shoved for 17 bigs with A♣9♣. Perri called and won, sending “luviktor88” out in third for $58,856.
Heads-up saw Perri with 65 million against Ivanov’s 44 million. It was a close battle–one which lasted 45 minutes in total and saw the chip lead switch frequently.
It all came to an end during the 1M/2M blind level. Perri limped the button with 10♦8♦, only for Ivanov to raise to 6M with 3♠4♣. After Perri called, the flop fell 7♣7♦3♦ giving Perri a flush draw and Ivanov two pair. Ivanov then shoved for 28M into a pot of just 12.4M, applying immense pressure to Perri with his draw. He could afford it with his stack though, and after a long tank made the call. The Q♠ turn changed nothing, but the J♦ river completed Perri’s flush and secured him the win.
For his runner-up finish, Ivanov banked $81,103. “Obviously it’s a lot of money and will be a serious boost to my bankroll,” he tells us. “I’m very happy but I don’t think that anything will change dramatically. I don’t think money has anything to do with playing higher stakes. It’s all about feeling comfortable at the stakes you are playing. It doesn’t matter for me if I have a $10M bankroll or $50,000. I will play where I feel comfortable.”
That’s a sentiment Perri–who won $111,769–agrees with.
“I’m extremely happy,” he says. “As soon as it ended I celebrated with my fiancee and family. It’s pure joy. However, I believe that my routine and dedication will stay the same. What changes is I now have the financial security to continue making the best decisions and keep giving my best.”
When it comes to his personal life though, Perri believes the money might change a few things.
“I got engaged this year and now making wedding plans will be a whole lot easier!”
$109 Sunday Million (November 10 2019)
Prize pool: $1,089,000
1. Vinicius “viniperri” Perri (Brazil) – $111,769.63
2. Ludmil “noob3r” Ivanov (Bulgaria) – $81,103.38
3. luvictor88 (Vietnam) – $58,856.74
4. H!tthehole (Canada) – $42,712.43
5. asker444 (Russia) – $30,996.53
6. Gergely “Wildace_hun” Kulcsár (Hungary) – $22,494.27
7. GabiMuguruza (Ukraine) – $16,324.21
8. Aaron “timetopop87” Stone (United Kingdom) – $11,846.57
9. 1mDonuts (Malta) – $8,597.00
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