Seven weeks ago, nearly to the hour, NutPopper was singing a very different tune. After spending more than half a day battling through a 50,000-strong field in the Sunday Million 9th Anniversary tournament, NutPopper saw his run come to an end in 17th place. Although the $34k score was his largest prize to date in online MTTs, watching the top four walk away with over half a million apiece had to sting in ways I can’t quite comprehend.
Tonight, NutPopper had a second chance at the top spot and seized it for all it was worth. In the lead or near it for most of the brisk final table, NutPopper had a close brush with death during six-handed play when he moved in with pocket jacks and ran into pocket aces. NutPopper hit a river two-outer to make a set and marched back into the chip lead. Content to rake in the small pots while his opponents cannibalized each other, NutPopper got heads-up with hy405 and finished him off in 16 hands to claim his first Sunday Million title and over $188k.
6,206 players turned out for this week’s Million, the prize pool topping out at $1,241,200.00. 900 places were paid with first place set to earn $188,790.66.
The blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 with ten players remaining. When NutPopper led off the action with a raise to 513,750 from the cutoff, BluffTheory moved all-in for 1,740,662 with A♣8♦ from the small blind. Onode cold called from the big blind and NutPopper gave up his hand. Onode’s A♠Q♥ had BluffTheory dominated and ended his run on the final table bubble when he failed to improve on the 10♦7♥6♣3♥2♥ board.
Final table chip counts
Seat 1: Bbc31 (2,131,888 in chips)
Seat 2: demon7719 (2,893,817 in chips)
Seat 3: i need sheet (5,814,102 in chips)
Seat 4: Senyorita_K (1,489,325 in chips)
Seat 5: pablotenisis (12,369,448 in chips)
Seat 6: hy405 (5,228,715 in chips)
Seat 7: gorgona66ret (2,546,820 in chips)
Seat 8: onode (16,149,060 in chips)
Seat 9: NutPopper (13,436,825 in chips)
Senyorita_K limped on to the final table with only six big blinds, but doubled on the second hand of play when 6♠6♥ held up in a race against i need sheet’s Q♥10♦. Bbc31 also scored an early double-up, but wouldn’t last the rest of the 150,000/300,000 level. Pablotenisis opened for a min-raise and gorgona66ret shoved for 1,685,460 from UTG+2. Bbc31 looked down at A♣K♦ in middle position and called all-in for 1,263,776, and pablotenisis called as well, having both players covered.
Pablotenisis’s pocket kings held up on the eight-high board, sending Bbc31 to the rail in ninth place while gorgona66ret finished eighth.
Senyorita_K was next to fall, her A♥10♣ falling to demon7719’s pocket sevens to send her home in seventh place. Then, only two hands later, hy405 moved his last 1.66 million in the middle with Q♣10♠ and turned a pair of tens against pablotenisis’s K♣9♥, good for a double to 4 million. Four hands after that, two monster hands collided in a preflop all-in, demon7719’s A♠A♣ up against NutPopper’s J♦J♥. All was good for demon7719 through the turn, but NutPopper spiked a river jack to end his run in sixth place.
Three more hands passed before i need sheet open-shoved for 4.13 million from UTG and hy405 reshoved behind him for 4.68 million. Hy405’s A♠Q♦ held up against K♥9♥, flopping a queen and turning aces up to send i need sheet to the rail in fifth place.
Since his clutch double-up through pablotenisis, hy405 had built his stack from 4 million to 9.4 million. Dealt K♣K♠ UTG, he opened for a min-raise to 1,000,000 and onode called on the button. The A♠10♠5♠ flop gave hy405 pause, and he check-called a 1,111,121 bet from onode. The turn, however, was the K♦ and he slyly checked his set of kings. Onode fired another 1.5 million and hy405 moved all-in for 7.3 million. Onode called and was drawing dead with K♥10♣ for two pair. The J♠ hit the river and hy405 raked in the 19.8 million pot. Twenty minutes before, he was down to his last four big blinds; now hy405 was the chip leader.
Onode dropped to 8.8 million in chips and recovered his losses at pablotenisis’s expense. All the marbles went in before the flop, onode’s A♦K♥ dominating pablotenisis’s A♥J♦. Onode flopped a king and turned trips, good for a double-up to 18 million. Now pablotenisis was the one down to 8.8 million, and two hands later, NutPopper made a small blind shove for 22.2 million. Pablotenisis called all-in from the big blind with 9♠9♦ and was in great shape against A♠6♥. However, the board four-flushed in spades, making NutPopper an ace-high flush against pablotenisis’s king-high flush.
As play turned three-handed, NutPopper was out in front with 31.3 million, onode held 17 million and hy405 was back on the short stack with 13.8 million.
Hy405 went on the offensive and eroded on onode’s stack to 7.2 million after winning an 11 million pot without a showdown. Onode roared back by open-shoving with 5♦6♦, but hy405 snap-called with A♥J♠ from the big blind. Hy405 flopped a jack and turned an ace on the K♥J♣10♣A♣5♣ board and finished off onode in third place.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 6: hy405 (28,752,548 in chips)
Seat 9: NutPopper (33,307,452 in chips)
NutPopper pulled away from hy405 on Hand #4. In for a min-raise apiece, both players checked the Q♦2♦2♠ flop. The 7♣ turned and NutPopper led out for 1.8 million. Hy405 called and the 9♥ hit the river. NutPopper made it 4.8 million to go and hy405 looked him up, but couldn’t beat NutPopper’s Q♥9♣.
Hy405 fell to 21 million in chips and was down to 17.6 million when the final hand unfolded. With A♠9♥ on the button, hy405 opened for 1.6 million and NutPopper three-bet to 9,999,999. Hy405 shoved and NutPopper called, revealing 10♠10♣. NutPopper’s pocket pair held up on the K♦K♥7♣4♣2♥ board, closing out his Sunday Million win.
Congratulations to NutPopper on an outstanding victory! He took home $188,790.66 for the win, while runner-up hy405 rallied from four big blinds to a $139,635.00 score.
PokerStars Sunday Million results for 5-3-2015
Places paid: 900
1. NutPopper (Costa Rica) $188,790.66
2. hy405 (South Korea) $139,635.00
3. onode (Japan) $99,296.00
4. Pablo “pablotenisis” Fernandez (United Kingdom) $68,266.00
5. Ryan “i need sheet” Yu (South Korea) $52,130.40
6. demon7719 (Russia) $39,718.40
7. Senyorita_K (Russia) $27,306.40
8. gorgona66ret (Greece) $14,894.40
9. Bbc31 (Portugal) $9,619.30
Post-script: Our apologies. This article originally stated NutPopper’s nationality incorrectly. This has now been changed.
Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.