Is tonight's Sunday Million going to come close to last week's? No. We may need to wait until next year's World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) or another surprise Sunday Million with $10 million guaranteed like last week before seeing the poker crowds flock to these tables and create the largest PokerStars prize pool ever at $12,423,200 This final $1 million guaranteed Sunday Million of 2011 more about the ease into 2012. Most players celebrating time off with their families for the holidays, but enough wanted to earn another present for their niece and nephews, 6,982 runners to be exact, to gather a $1,396,400.00 prize pool with $209,464.40 slated for first.
For Team PokerStars Pro, only Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby 731st place ($363.06) managed to shake off an egg nog coma and become one of the 1,080 players to cash tonight.
And while there will not be eight different players receiving six figures at tonight's final table like last week, three of them will turn their $215 buy-in into some holiday gifts like Skydiving with Anthony Bourdain (I think Team Blog's own Brad Willis wouldn't mind if you took him along). Or, the winner tonight could rock a Water-powered jetpack for a mere $179,400. Whatever our players choose to lavish themselves with, it will be a hard-earned win of over 12 hours of high-stakes poker being played on a day normal folks are kicking back to an open fire laying on a couch with five pounds of mom's secret recipe snickerdoodles stuffed inside.
While the players at the final two tables may be on the couch, watching the Yule log on TV was not an option with a chance to get to the black for the year in the last Sunday Million of 2011, all eyes were on their monitors as the difference between 18th ($3,909.92 claimed by tlegolas) and 1st (a potential $209,464.40 claimed by... you have to read on) could be career changer.
The tenth hour of play brought some very quick eliminations going from 18 to 11 in short order. The big stacks were not afraid to tangle this deep into the tournament as chur157 pulled a huge 10 million chip pot off sebstop on Table 215 while JackobFish relived Vadym1 of an 8.4 million chip pot showing K♠Q♣ on a 9♣ 2♣ J♦ 4♦ Q♠ board with heavy betting going all the way to the river.
Just before the 11th hourly break LFmagic open shoved from the small blind as former chip leader sebstop trying to recover from chur157 poaching his chips called all-in from the big blind holding Q♥K♣. sebstop was sitting pretty, dominating LFmagic's K♠6♣ a watching a clean T♣2♠5♠ flop fall. But, the turn 6♣ reversed the lead as the K♥ river could not flip it back, as sebstop's last Sunday Million for 2011 ended with a bad beat in 11th place ($7,680.20).
Dan Alcazar would single-handedly make the bubble a long lasting affair. Down to between three and less than one big blind for more than 15 minutes on a five-handed table, Dan would survive loop after loop until the blinds moved up to 150K/300K ante 30K. With Dan Alcazar sitting on the button, he would open for less than a full bet as LFmagic completed in the small blind and BouleEtBill checked the option. Both active player checked down the 4♥ Q♦ A♥ 5♠ 7♠ board as LFmagic turned up 9♦Q♣ good enough to take down both the small side pot and leave Dan Alcazar mucking on the bubble in tenth place ($7,680.20).
Seat 1: JackobFish (18536494 in chips)
Seat 2: LFmagic (12654038 in chips)
Seat 3: thelegend67 (2912126 in chips)
Seat 4: VitStarS MaN (5464974 in chips)
Seat 5: BouleEtBill (3398215 in chips)
Seat 6: Vadym1 (5858516 in chips)
Seat 7: AVAN77 (4189943 in chips)
Seat 8: chur157 (10914252 in chips)
Seat 9: ||Burkeeee! (5891442 in chips)
Straight away win
AVAN77 looked to take down the significant blinds without a fight, shoving for 3.5 million from the small blind with 200K/400K ante 40K blinds. But, chur157 found some courage to make the call for half his chips with A♣3♦. It was the right one as AVAN77 showed K♥T♥. No hearts, no kings, no tens as chur157 booked a winning hand with a straight Q♦ 7♠ 6♦ 5♠ 4♣ by the river ending AVAN77's night in ninth place ($10,822.10).
Resilient final table
Nearly 25 minutes would go by before our next elimination. Then they happen back-to-back of course. First, a short stacked chur157 who came into the final table as one of the chip leader ended up a shortstacked with the blinds at 250K/500K ante 50K shoving 2.8 million over the top of Vadym1's min raise. Vadym1 made the easy call with pocket queens Q♦Q♣ hoping to hold over chur157's A♣J♥. Hold they did as the K♣ 3♥ 2♥ K♦ T♠ board handed 6.8 million chip to Vadym1 and $16,756.80 to chur157 in eighth place.
Immediately after LFmagic would open shove for over 12 million chips from the cutoff finding a caller in BouleEtBill with just 1.4 million left in the big blind. Two live cards J♦7♥ they could not out run LFmagic's Q♦K♦ on the 5♣ 5♦ T♦ 2♥ 8♦ board and BouleEtBill was sunk in seventh place ($30,022.60).
Furthering this resiliency, the hand immediately after another break extreme shortstack VitStarS MaN managed to get it in with the worst hand A♦Q♥ and pull out a 6.5 million side pot again JackobFish's A♠K♥ and thelegend67's A♣A♥ on the 2♣ J♦ 6♦ 8♦ 2♦ board as play moved on to 300K/600K ante 60K blinds.
Ever read a board and think you got lucky actually did not? Watch the hand below for our sixth place finisher:
thelegend67 hung on for the later parts of the final table with just a few big blinds and got it in with A♦5♣ versus VitStarS MaN's big slick A♠K♦. Two pair on the flop A♣ 5♥ Q♣ WHOO WHOO! Clean turn 3♦ YES! Counterfeiting river Q♦ Bleh! 7.8 million chips to VitStarS MaN as thelegend67 retired to the bench in sixth place ($43,288.40).
Not a good night for aces
First the legend67 gets aces cracked and could not recover, then with the blinds moving up to 400K/800K ante 80K VitStarS MaN min raised from UTG as LFmagic called out of the big blind to see a coordinated 8♣ J♥ 7♦ flop. LFmagic led out for 1.2 million as VitStarS MaN slowed down and called. 6♣ turn and 2.1 million from LFmagic is called again. A pairing 6♣ on the river gets LFmagic to bet just a little less than VitStarS MaN's 5.3 million chip stack. Raise all-in by VitStarS MaN's A♠A♣ is snap-called by LFmagic's flopped straight T♥9♥ and VitStarS MaN took a long holiday walk in fifth place ($57,252.40).
Our remaining four immediately would try to wrap up the big money with $20,000 left aside for first, but two balks meant no deal and play continued.
Do you believe in magic?
Vadym1 probably does not want to believe in the mystical arts after watching his chips slide over to LFmagic. With the blinds at 500K/1MM ante 100K Vadym1 would shove from the cutoff for 9.4 million chips as LFmagic called from the big blind holding on to a middle ace 8♥A♠. The ace was good preflop against Vadym1's K♦T♣, and more so after another one flopped 2♥ J♥ A♦ K♠ 5♥ to give LFmagic the 19.7 million chip pot, conjuring Vadym1 from the table in fourth place ($74,009.20).
Out of tricks
LFmagic would give up the majority of those new found coins on the very next hand in cooler against JackobFish's A♥A♣ versus his pocket jacks J♦J♠. Then, two hands later LFmagic got antsy to reclaim those chips against ||Burkeeee! forced to call-in after trying to three-bet preflop. 7♦9♦ for LFmagic needed diamonds quickly against ||Burkeeee!'s pocket jacks J♦J♠. Instead of mid-range cards, LFmagic was forced to watch broadway spill out on the A♠ Q♠ T♣ A♦ K♣ board ending the night in third place ($111,712.00).
Quickly (after a nap) our final two made the chip chop deal below leaving $20K to the winner:
Burke fades for the win
Nearly 45 minutes long, neither one of these players wanted to give up the extra $20,000 as they would battle into the 700K/1.4MM ante 140K level. ||Burkeeee! would start with a 44.2 million to 25.5 million chip lead, and end with the lead as well. As either fatigue set in or some 12th level thinking as both players got it in preflop, check out the video below:
||Burkeeee! made a gut check call with 7♠A♠ after JackobFish's shove for 24.1 million. The call was correct as JackobFish held just T♠Q♠. Spades on the flop J♥ 5♠ J♠ only worried JackobFish with the lower draw. The rest of the board would stay spade-free as both players missed on the 4♣ turn and 2♣ river giving ||Burkeeee! the final Sunday Million title of 2011!
$1,000,000 guarantee Sunday Million results (12-25-11):
(* denotes part of two-way deal)
1. ||Burkeeee! (Turkey) *$196,513.32
2. JackobFish (Czech Republic) *$167,071.74
3. LFmagic (United Kingdom) $111,712.00
4. Vadym1 (Ukraine) $74,009.20
5. VitStarS MaN (Russia) $57,252.40
6. thelegend67 (Canada) $43,288.40
7. BouleEtBill (Belgium) $30,022.60
8. chur157 (Switzerland) $16,756.80
9. AVAN77 (Russia) $10,822.10