The biggest weekly tournament in online poker got its start 11 years ago this month. To celebrate that momentous occasion back in 2006, this week’s Sunday Million sported a guaranteed prize pool of $10 million and a guaranteed first place prize of at least a million dollars. The prospect of redefining one’s life for a mere $215 investment drew an enormous field that resulted in a final table where everyone was guaranteed at least $78,086. After nearly 16 hours of poker, including a remarkable run at the final table, Panama’s Xavi666 walked away with the top prize of $1,093,204.63.
There were already more than 27,000 players in the field as this special edition of the Sunday Million began at 2 p.m. ET. An hour of late registration had the field up over 38,000, and by two hours on there were more than 47,000 in play. By the end of the third and final hour of late registration the prize pool had swelled to $11,167,000 on the strength of 44,017 entries and 11,818 re-entries. The top 9,206 would share in the money, and after one more hour of play that goal was in sight. Minutes after the day’s fourth break, Canada’s Jack17444 popped the money bubble and the real game began.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of Red Spades showed up in the payouts as hundreds of players fell by the wayside. Chris “Money800” Moneymaker went out in 2,841st, followed a bit later by Igor Kurganov in 2,372nd and Lex Veldhius in 1,246th. Team Online’s George “Jorj95” Lind made a deep run that ended in 331st. And Andre Akkari represented Team Pro well with a 71st-place finish, making him the first player to earn the pay jump to $15,007.33.
Play continued as the calendar rolled over into Monday, and after almost four more hours the final table was within sight. Past Sunday Warm-Up finalist peter804 double-inflated the bubble with 9♥ 9♠, busting both Lisekant (with K♦ 8♥) and Rena15sanCe (with A♠ 10♦), leaving two five-handed tables in play at 3:46 a.m. They went to the break nine minutes later with the bubble still intact, three players – all seated at the same table – hanging on at the bottom with less than one big blind separating them.
Petruha.K of Belarus was one of those short stacks and called off with A♥ Q♥ in the small blind at 4:06 a.m. ET. TranBrothers, who had opened in the cutoff seat with A♦ K♠, made kings and fours on the 4♦ 4♠ 10♥ K♣ 5♣ board, dodging Petruha.K’s turned gutshot straight draw to set up this final table:
Seat 1: v0nder (49,937,496 in chips)
Seat 2: Xavi666 (51,900,985 in chips)
Seat 3: RTAPEX (17,480,048 in chips)
Seat 4: gabito h261 (49,898,224 in chips)
Seat 5: NormyDozer (82,603,464 in chips)
Seat 6: Mouzen (130,901,970 in chips)
Seat 7: TranBrothers (105,578,838 in chips)
Seat 8: girafganger7 (33,818,421 in chips)
Seat 9: peter804 (36,230,554 in chips)
RTAPEX came in on a mission – pick up chips, pronto. Some early help from A♥ A♠ gave the Australian player a double to 37.7M after deep-stacked Mouzen called with A♦ K♥. RTAPEX proposed a nine-handed deal after that win, but nobody responded. It was an idea with arguable merit – with $3,690,648.78 in prize money up for grabs at the final table and $100,000 left on the table for the winner, an even nine-handed chop would be worth more than $398,000 for everyone at the table.
Nobody would have stood to pick up more value than RTAPEX, whose 37.6M-chip stack was worth just over 10 big blinds. With no takers, though, RTAPEX’s tournament went on the line again minutes later when the Aussie shoved for 26.9M with A♣ 6♥ on the button. gabito h261 called in the small blind with A♥ 7♣ and the two looked likely to split the pot after the J♣ 9♦ 8♠ flop and A♦ turn left both with a pair of aces. Then the 10♦ hit the river, making a jack-high straight for gabito h261 and sending RTAPEX to the rail in ninth.
The next 24 minutes saw multiple players dodge similar fates. First girafganger7, a TCOOP 2017 winner and past Super Tuesday and WCOOP runner-up, doubled with A♠ 9♣ against Mouzen’s button-stealing Q♦ 7♦. Then peter804’s A♠ K♠ made a pair of aces and held against Xavi666’s K♥ Q♠, and girafganger7 picked up a queen with Q♥ 10♥ to outrace gabito h261’s A♣ J♠.
The big one went to Xavi666, who called an early position raise by TranBrothers with A♦ J♠ and made Broadway when the flop came K♥ 10♥ Q♠. When TranBrothers open-shoved, holding A♣ A♠, Xavi666 snap-called. The board ran out 6♥ –6♣, and Xavi666 claimed the lead with the 114M-chip pot. gabito h261 followed up with a coin-flip win with 9♣ 9♦ against NormyDozer’s A♣ K♥, and Mouzen’s K♦ J♣ made a pair of jacks on the flop to crack peter804’s 10♣ 10♦ on the following hand.
The run of good fortune for the short stacks ended when NormyDozer, a past finalist at SCOOP 2014, SCOOP 2015, and the Super Tuesday, opened all-in for 28.3M under the gun with K♣ Q♥. The action folded around to the big blind, where gabito h261 called with A♠ K♦ and promptly hit top pair with the nut flush draw on the 3♦ A♦ 9♦ flop. The 7♣ turn locked up the 63.1M-chip pot for gabito h261, who made a flush with the 2♦ river and knocked out NormyDozer in eighth.
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v0nder was next to go, three minutes later. The player from Belarus limped in from the small blind with 10♥ 9♥ and open-shoved when the flop came 3♦ A♦ 9♦. Xavi666 called with 7♦ 5♦ for middle pair with a diamond flush draw. The pair would have been enough, but the flush came in after the Q♣ turn and A♦ river to give Xavi666 the 115M-chip pot, sending v0nder to the rail in seventh.
Six hands later it was peter804’s turn. The player from the United Kingdom open-shoved for 26.8M on the button with J♦ 9♦ and ended up facing Xavi666, who successfully isolated form the small blind with K♦ 10♦. The 2♦ 6♣ 10♣ 5♥ K♠ board made kings and tens to give Xavi666 the pot, and peter804 bowed out in sixth.
girafganger7 and gabito h261 were the next two players on the chopping block as the 4:55 a.m. ET break came and went, and both of them doubled up within minutes. First girafganger7 re-raised all-in for 40M on the button with A♦ 6♦ after Mouzen opened for 12.3M under the gun with K♥ J♣; Mouzen was set to take the pot after the 9♣ 9♦ 9♠ flop and K♣ turn, but the A♣ river gave girafganger7 the 92.1M-chip pot. Five hands later gabito h261 duplicated the feat, calling all-in in the big blind with K♦ 7♣ and making two pair after Xavi666 tried to steal with J♠ 8♠ in the small.
That 104M-chip win for gabito h261 put girafganger7 back in the hot seat, and two hands later a lost race with K♦ Q♠ against Mouzen’s 6♥ 6♠ left the Belgian player with just one big blind. girafganger7 was forced all-in on the next hand with 7♦ 3♠, which fell to Xavi666’s A♥ J♦ on the A♦ K♥ 9♣ 4♦ K♦ board to bust girafganger7 in fifth.
The four remaining players soon agreed to look at numbers for a potential deal. The numbers would have given everybody at least $663,222 and left another $100,000 on the table for the winner, a good enough deal to get three players to agree immediately. But Xavi666 declined, so play resumed.
On the second hand back, Xavi666 was in the big blind with 6♠ 2♥ and called gabito h261’s min-raise to 14M, bringing a 7♥ 2♠ J♥ flop. Both players checked, and the 2♣ came on the turn, giving Xavi666 trip deuces. Both players checked once again, and the 9♠ came on the river. Xavi666 led with a min-bet of 7M this time and quickly called when gabito h261 shoved all-in for 107M on a bluff with A♠ 4♠. Covered by 17M chips, gabito h261 bowed out in fourth.
Mouzen doubled through Xavi666 nine hands later with A♥ 9♥ to 10♠ 9♦ to keep things close. Another win five hands later in the small blind with Q♠ 2♦ came at TranBrothers’s expense – after check-raising the 8♠ A♠ A♥ flop on a bluff and continuing the action on the 9♠ turn, Mouzen checked the Q♥ river and bagged the 106M-chip pot when TranBrothers mucked.
Just eight hands after that, TranBrothers opened the action all-in for 82.3M on the button with J♣ 8♣. Xavi666 was the lone caller in the small blind, holding Q♦ J♦, and promptly made two pair on the K♣ Q♥ J♥ flop. The Q♣ turn and 10♠ river left Xavi666 with queens full of jacks, and TranBrothers hit the rail in third.
Mouzen trailed by 27 big blinds as heads-up play began with a $208,000 pay jump due to the winner. The Swede opened the fourth hand for 17.2M on the button with K♣ K♦. Xavi666 called in the big blind and check-called 11.5M more on the 3♦ 10♥ 6♠ flop, bringing the 8♦ on the turn. Xavi666 checked again, then shoved all-in after Mouzen bet 28.9M. Mouzen snap-called with the kings, only to find that Xavi666 had turned the nuts with 9♥ 7♥. The ten-high straight officially won the pot after the 4♦ came on the river, and the 11th Anniversary edition of the Sunday Million made its way into the history books.
Mouzen’s runner-up finish was worth $785,999.34, a massive step up for a play whose previous biggest cash was just under $10K. And winner Xavi666, whose previous biggest PokerStars cash was worth just over $3,500, took down the massive $1,093,204.63 top prize, along with the distinction of being the winner of one truly massive Sunday Million event. Congratulations to both players, as well as the other finalists, on successfully navigating the enormous field to play for the biggest money in this tournament’s 11-year history.
4/2/17 Sunday Million 11th Anniversary ($215 NL Hold’em) results
Entrants: 55,835 (44,017 entries, 11,818 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $11,167,000
Places paid: 9,206
1. Xavi666 (Panama) $1,093,204.63
2. Mouzen (Sweden) $785,999.34
3. TranBrothers (Vietnam) $565,140.65
4. gabito h261 (Colombia) $406,341.44
5. girafganger7 (Belgium) $292,163.33
6. Peter804 (United Kingdom) $210,069.13
7. v0nder (Belarus) $151,042.60
8. NormyDozer (Australia) $108,601.30
9. RTAPEX (Australia) $78,086.36
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.