No beginner's luck -- TherookieQQ9 wins the Sunday Million

A healthy field of 7,711 players turned out for the Sunday Million today, boosting the prize pool to more than $1.54 million and creating a first-place prize of nearly $190,000.

While PokerStars’ six Million Dollar Men were battling it out for $9 million in the Rio at the World Series of Poker, players in the Sunday Million were hoping to build a bankroll to make their way to Las Vegas next summer for the 2009 edition of poker’s grandest tournament. Among the notable finishers in the top 100 were Roothlus in 53rd and PearlJammer in 99th.

After ClaudioRenya was eliminated in 10th, the final table was set with RunThisTable and TherookieQQ9 in domination chip positions. The seating and chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Mazelucky – 4,887,442
Seat 2: TherookieQQ9 – 15,612,351
Seat 3: rickyhatton – 4,465,083
Seat 4: ragsrellum – 1,350,622
Seat 5: elemonator37 – 6,925,714
Seat 6: adamx – 3,558,912
Seat 7: RunThisTable – 26,176,370
Seat 8: 1011001011 – 7,561,210
Seat 9: Lamberjack12 – 5,252,296


Adamx was the first to depart when he shoved from middle position for 3.5 million with blinds at 150K/300K and a 30K ante. TherookieQQ9 called from the big blind with Ac-Td and adamx showed Kc-Qs. After the board ran out 7s-Ah-Ks-6c-6h adamx collected $10,795 for ninth.

RunThisTable then lived up to his name. The player, who has the video game character Crash Bandicoot as his avatar, played aggressive poker, three-betting and causing his foes to fold. He also knocked ragsrellum out in eighth when ragsrellum pushed 2.3 million all-in from middle position with blinds and antes at 200K/400K/40K. RunThisTable called from the cutoff with Kc-Jc and was slightly behind the Ac-2h of ragsrellum, but the board cruelly ran out 8s-Td-6s-7c-9h to put a straight on the board yet give RunThisTable a higher straight with his jack. Ragsrellum earned $17,735 for the day.

TherookieQQ9 also got his mojo going by eliminating another opponent. He raised to 1 million under the gun with the blinds the same as a few hands earlier and Lamberjack12 pushed all-in for 3.3 million under the gun. TherookieQQ9 called with 4s-4h while Lamberjack12 held Ah-Qh for a classic race. The flop was great for TherookieQQ9 when it came 3d-8s-5c and the turn and river of 9d-4d certainly didn’t hurt his cause. Lamberjack12 left in seventh with $26,998.50.

Elemonator37 lost a race to go out in sixth. 1011001011 raised to 1.5 million under the gun with blinds and antes at 250K/500K/50K and elemonator37 pushed for 4.8 million from the small blind. 1011001011 called and the hands were As-Jh for 1011001011 and Td-Th for elemonator37. The flop was a dandy 5c-6s-Qh for elemonator37, but the turn Ah would give the hand to the binary player. Elemonator37 received $39,326.10 in prize money.

RunThisTable then got tripped up. After having raised and gotten pushed out of pots himself (basically the opposite of what happened earlier in the final table), he pushed all-in in the big blind with Kh-6h against rickyhatton, who called with Kc-Qd. The better hand held and RunThisTable was left with 5 million. However, he doubled up soon after with pocket jacks to put himself back in contention.

Net to go was 1011001011 when the blinds had reached 400K/800K/80K. TherookieQQ9 raised to 2.2 million under the gun and 1011001011 shipped for 7.1 million from the small blind with 5s-5d. TherookieQ99 called with Ac-8s and the two saw a flop of Ad-6d-2d, which gave the rook the lead, but kept 1011001011 in contention with two fives and nine diamonds he could catch. The turn and river were blanks, however, and 1011001011 got $54,748.10 for finishing fifth.

Shortly after blinds had climbed to 500K/1M/100K, Mazelucky shoved all-in with nearly 10 million under the gun and RunThisTable made a courageous call for almost his entire stack with 4h-4c. He was undoubtedly happy to see the 6d-3d of Mazelucky. The board ran out 3s-5s-Qs-Jh-9c and Mazelucky departed with $70,170.10.

RunThisTable continued his renewed hot streak a few hands later when rickyhatton got all-in in the small blind with As-Jd versus the 9c-9h of RunThisTable on the button. RunThisTable won this flip to eliminate rickyhatton in third ($86,363.20) and set up the heads-up battle with TherookieQQ9. The two chipleaders coming into the final table would battle for the Sunday Million title. The chip counts when heads-up play began were:

RunThisTable – 41,016,182
TherookieQQ9 – 36,093,818

The players traded blows for a protracted finale, first with small pots and then when TherookieQQ9 was crippled with K-Q versus A-6 and then doubled up the next hand with A-Q versus Q-J. With a more than $60,000 difference between first and second and no deal talks forthcoming every pot counted. TherookieQQ9 was able to grab the lead in the ensuing hands when he limped for 1.7 million on the button. RunThisTable shipped for 30.5 million from the big blind and TheRookieQQ9 instantly called with a dominating As-Jc to RunThisTable’s Ad-2c. The flop turned the hand around, though, when it came 7s-2d-6h. The turn was a thudding Tc, but the river was the magical Jd for TherookieQQ9. That river pair gave him the Sunday Million win and $188,919.50 while RunThisTable received $127,385.72 for his runner-up finish.

Sunday Million Results (11-9-08)

1. TherookieQQ9 $188,919.50
2. RunThisTable $127,385.72
3. rickyhatton $86,363.20
4. Mazelucky $70,170.10
5. 1011001011 $54,748.10
6. elemonator37 $39,326.10
7. Lamberjack12 $26,998.50
8. ragsrellum $17,735
9. adamx $10,795

Tuscaloosa Johnny Kampis
@PokerStars in