With three players remaining, this week’s Sunday Million was Graftekkel’s to lose. Out to a strong chip lead, he picked up pocket aces and got his stack in vs. Stev0L_’s pocket nines. Were it not for runner-runner diamonds, the 75 million-chip pot would have been his. Instead, Stev0L_ took a 5.5 to 1 chip advantage into heads-up play and became the overwhelming favorite to win. However, TryToExploit wasn’t going to go gently into that good night. All-in with a dominated ace-rag, TryToExploit flopped his kicker and doubled up. Although the two ultimately made a deal for the bulk of the prize money, TryToExploit came away with the win and the Sunday Million title thanks to an astonishing come-from-behind effort.
A robust crowd of 9,088 players joined the Sunday Million field, their $215 buy-ins combining to create a $1,817,600 prize pool. 1,350 places were paid with first place set to earn $259,558.14. Fifteen Red Spades were in the mix including Nacho Barbero, George Danzer, Marcel Luske, Caio Pessagno and Liv Boeree. Two made the money– Bryan Huang (1,220th) and Andre Akkari, who made a deep run and was eliminated in 71st place when his A♦K♣ did not improve vs. pocket jacks.
Blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 with ten players remaining. Short stack Fatgoldfish found A♦10♣ in the cutoff and moved all-in for 2.37 million only to run into Graftekkel’s K♠K♦ in the small blind. Graftekkel flopped a set of kings and turned quads, ending Fatgoldfish’s run on the final table bubble.
Final table chip counts
Seat 1: Stev0L_ (11,511,771 in chips)
Seat 2: Graftekkel (28,748,540 in chips)
Seat 3: OJLimpsinn (5,637,430 in chips)
Seat 4: Mr. Sparco (3,233,928 in chips)
Seat 5: Faborizer (11,109,891 in chips)
Seat 6: mossified84 (2,410,092 in chips)
Seat 7: marc cedric (11,650,897 in chips)
Seat 8: Sphinx87 (4,070,385 in chips)
Seat 9: TryToExploit (12,507,066 in chips)
Graftekkel KOs two
OJLimpsinn met his tournament end on the first hand of the final table. The action folded to Graftekkel in the cutoff and he opened for a min-raise to 600,000. OJLimpsinn shoved for 5.6 million on the button and Graftekkel called, revealing pocket fives. Although OJLimpsinn’s A♠K♥ caught an ace on the flop, a five came with it and Graftekkel took down the pot with a set. OJLimpsinn was eliminated in ninth place, good for $12,723.20.
Two hands later, Graftekkel opened again for a min-raise and this time, missified84 three-bet shoved for 1.87 million. Graftekkel snap-called, his A♣K♥ racing with Q♥Q♠. Graftekkel flopped an ace and rivered a king to make top two pair and mossified84 hit the rail in eighth place, collecting $19,993.60.
With those two knockouts, Graftekkel moved up to 36.9 million, good for the chip lead. However, three hands later, Sphinx87 got the rest of his chips in pre flop with 5♠5♦ and Graftekkel looked him up with A♠6♣. Sphinx87 flopped a set of fives and doubled to 7.2 million.
Graftekkel retained the chip lead but lost a bit of ground to Stev0L_. After TryToExploit opened for 657,500, Stev0L_ three-bet to 1,335,550 and Graftekkel cold four-bet to 2,355,555. TryToExploit got out of the way, but Stev0L_ came back over the top for 2,455,850. Graftekkel called, but folded to Stev0L_’s 1/3-pot bet on the Q♥J♦5♠ flop.
Stev0L_ increased his stack to 16.5 million and with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000 he looked down at A♥A♣ and opened for 800,000. Graftekkel three-bet to 1.75 million and Faborizer shoved for 12 million. Stev0L_ shoved and Graftekkel got out of the way. Faborizer’s A♦K♦ did not improve on the Q♥4♥3♠7♣8♣ board and he exited in seventh place ($36,352.00) while Stev0L_ raked in the 26.6 million pot.
Sphinx87, Mr. Sparco eliminated, TryToExploit doubles
Two hands later, Mr. Sparco three-bet shoved for his remaining 2.41 million and doubled through Graftekkel when his A♥6♥ flopped an ace vs. J♦7♠. This left Sphinx87 on the short stack with only 4 million and with A♣8♣, he moved all-in from UTG. Mr. Sparco reshoved for 6.74 million to isolate and turned over pocket tens. Sphinx87 did not improve on the 5♦5♠2♥3♦K♠ board and he departed in sixth place, good for $54,528.00.
TryToExploit had stayed relatively quiet until now, but with the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, he three-bet marc cedric’s 4x opening raise to 8.5 million. Marc cedric responded with a four-bet to 15 million straight and TryToExploit called all-in. TryToExploit’s A♥Q♥ held up vs. marc cedric’s A♦9♠ and he doubled to 21 million, leaving marc cedric on 11.8 million.
However, marc cedric quickly recovered some of those chips when he picked up 6♥6♦ and opened for 1.8 million. Mr. Sparco shoved for 5.62 million from the big blind and marc cedric called. Mr. Sparco’s K♥J♥ hit a flush draw on the Q♥7♥6♠ flop, but marc cedric flopped a set. Mr. Sparco couldn’t find another heart and he hit the rail in fifth place ($72,704.00).
Stev0L_ snaps off two in a row
As four-handed play commenced, Stev0L_ three-bet shoved for 11.8 million with K♠Q♠ and TryToExploit called with A♣J♠. Stev0L_ hit a gutshot straight draw on the 8♦9♦J♣ flop and filled it when the 10♠ came on the turn. The river was the meaningless Q♦ and Stev0L_ doubled to 24.7 million. Then, with the blinds up to 400,000/800,000, Stev0L_ opened for a min-raise and marc cedric three-bet to 4.8 million. Stev0L_ shoved and marc cedric called, his 8♦8♣ racing with A♥Q♠. Stev0L_ continued to run well and hit an ace on the flop, doubling his stack to 49 million while marc cedric was left with only 4.3 million.
Two hands later, marc cedric found K♦5♥ on the button and moved in for 3.76 million. Stev0L_ called with 9♥10♣. Marc cedric survived the Q♠4♥2♠ flop but Stev0L_ turned the 10♠, leaving marc cedric drawing to only three outs. The river was the J♠, not the king he needed and marc cedric was eliminated in fourth place, earning $90,880.00.
On the very next deal, Stev0L_ opened for 2 million, Graftekkel three-bet to 4.25 million, Stev0L_ four-bet to 6.88 million and Graftekkel shoved for 22.1 million. Stev0L_ called, his 9♦9♥ in dire shape vs. Graftekkel’s A♥A♠. The 6♦5♦2♣ flop didn’t change anything, but Stev0L_ picked up a flush draw on the turn with the 2♦. Miraculously, the river was another diamond, the Q♦, and Stev0L_ made it two in a row, eliminating Graftekkel in third place. For his efforts, Graftekkel collected $135,320.32.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 1: Stev0L_ (77,233,185 in chips)
Seat 9: TryToExploit (13,646,815 in chips)
TryToExploit was at a 5.5 to 1 chip deficit going into heads-up play, but quickly doubled up to 30.6 million when his A♦7♥ four-flushed on the river vs. Stev0L_’s pocket nines. By the time the blinds moved up to 500,000/1,000,000, TryToExploit was back down to 16 million in chips and all-in with A♦4♣ vs. Stev0L_’s A♥K♣. However, TryToExploit hit his kicker on the 8♦4♦3♥ flop and turned aces up when the A♠ fell, good for another double-up to 32 million.
After another few minutes of play, TryToExploit had ground up another 5 million in chips. It was enough to motivate both players to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here’s a look at how they stacked up at the time.
Both parties quickly agreed to a chip count chop that left $20,000 in play for the winner. With Stev0L_ and TryToExploit guaranteed at least $219,700 and $210,700 respectively, cards went back int he air.
By the top of the 13th hour of play, the stacks were almost even, Stev0L_ possessing 44.4 million while TryToExploit held 46.4 million. Stev0L_ was able to grind back up to 53 million with some diligent small-pot poker, but TryToExploit flipped the script when he picked up A♠Q♣ and three-bet to 6 million. Stev0L_ shoved and TryToExploit called. Stev0L_’s pocket fours went up in flames on the A♣9♣7♣ flop and TryToExploit doubled to 75.5 million.
Down to only 12.3 million, Stev0L_ open-shoved on the button two hands later and TryToExploit looked him up. Stev0L_’s dominated Q♥8♦ did not improve vs. A♠Q♣, and TryToExploit’s come-from-behind victory was at hand:
Congratulations to Poland’s TryToExploit on a fantastic run! Thanks to the heads-up deal, he banked $230,707.38 for the win, while runner-up Stev0L_ earned $219,698.76.
PokerStars Sunday Million results for 3-9-2014
Places paid: 1,350
1. TryToExploit (Poland) $230,707.38*
2. Stev0L_ (Australia) $219,698.76*
3. Graftekkel (Netherlands) $135,320.32
4. marc cedric (Philippines) $90,880.00
5. Mr. Sparco (Netherlands) $72,704.00
6. Sphinx87 (Poland) $54,528.00
7. Faborizer (Switzerland) $36,352.00
8. mossified84 (Canada) $19,993.60
9. OJLimpsinn (United Kingdom) $12,723.20
*= reflects the result of a heads-up deal that left $20,000 in play for the winner
Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.