Tournament Number 900 Million: 3-way deal equals six figures each for earlgrey23, PaPakwanto, judgedredd13 ($109 NLHE)

As has been demonstrated many times over the last decade-plus, PokerStars does milestones right. To mark the site's 900,000,000th tournament, PokerStars offered a $109 no-limit hold'em tournament with a whopping $1 million guaranteed prize pool, with another guarantee of at least $100,000 to go to the winner. Ultimately three players would chop the tournament and each earned considerably more than a hundred grand, with the winner earlgrey23 of Canada taking away $152,532.44, runner-up PaPakwanto of the Netherlands winning $176,278.11, and Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton of the United Kingdom picking up $153,681.46.

When the first hands were dealt early Sunday afternoon the total field had just passed the 9,600-player mark. By the time late registration would end three hours later, the final total would be edging close to twice that as 18,711 ultimately took part. That meant a total prize pool of $1,871,100 -- way, way above the $1 million guarantee -- with the top 2,475 finishers due to divid those riches.

Of course, those weren't the only rewards claimed on Sunday, as PokerStars had added more than $100,000 worth of extra prizes for those participating in Tournament Number 900 Million. Every 10 minutes for the first two hours of play, players at randomly selected tables were awarded a variety of prizes, including cash, tourney tickets, and for 18 lucky players entries into live PokerStars events.

"Congratulations! This table has been selected for a Tournament Milestone!"

"Easy money," typed LeBroHbKA after Table 73 was among the five whose players won the first prizes of the day, tickets into the Big $55. Ten minutes later players at five more tables saw $300 instantly added to their PokerStars accounts. "I had ZERO in account," typed dodaklshire afterwards. "300 now."

Next came the awarding of Sunday Million tickets, worth $215 apiece. "Wow running good and nowhere near the money," typed BrionW, one of the winners. The next rounds of prizes included $200 cash, a $109 Sunday Kickoff Entry ticket, and $50 cash, with five tables' worth of players again winning the prizes. Here's a sampling of the responses:

javierphp: yeahhh
ftl28: nice
Muffel33: very nice
cashmeout84: freeroll 4tw
sanko33: yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeesssssss

Then came the awarding of two tickets to the Hot $5.50 to every player sitting at 50 tables (!), meaning a total of 449 players were winners. Next players at five tables each won 10 tickets to $7 Sit & Gos, then five more tables of players won $109 each -- i.e., their buy-ins back. Another $10 cash prize went to players at five more tables. "Ty pokerstars," typed Vorsitzender, speaking for many.

Five Sunday Storm tickets were then given to players at five more tables, then the giveaways came to a conclusion with the biggest prizes of all -- a Players Choice live event package including a €1,100 Main Event buy-in, plus $1,500 hotel and spending money!

Tables 634 and 1220 were the lucky ones...


27apr14-900million-playerschoicewinners.jpg

"Niiiiiiice" said MarcoHH69 as players spent the next few hands helping each other realize just what they had won. "Sweet" added giumas987, then attention eventually turned back toward poker and the even larger prizes awaiting those who could make the final table.

From 18,711 to 9

It would take almost four-and-a-half hours from the tourney's start for the money bubble to burst, and with 2,475 players remaining zheleznev, paraisocarlo, and bliga1 led the way although there was still much poker left to be played.

There were two red spades still in the counts among those making the money. Team Online member Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara would last a while longer before 9superpoker knocked him out in 1,212th place for a $336.79 cash. And Team PokerStars Pro Joe "jcada99" Cada made it a little further before Toniar78 claimed the last of his chips to send Cada out in 926th for $392.93.

By the time the tourney had crossed the nine-hour mark, the total field had shrunk to 100 players. By then former leaders paraisocarlo (261st, $785.86), zheleznev (224th, $823.28), and bliga1 (176th, $879.41) had all been eliminated, replaced by tatasanjuan, MCRez, and JimFool atop the leaderboard.

Three-and-a-half hours after that they were down to 18 with tatasanjuan still in first position while MCRez and JimFool were also still there albeit with below average stacks.

JimFool would soon hit the rail in 18th, followed by bosul_d_fane (17th) and DeepBlue6 (16th) with each of those three earning $3,835.75 for their finishes. flavio.wb (15th), archie_jones (14th), and KovalevaOlga (13th) were next to go, each taking away $5,426.19. And clausdorf4 (12th), 6Thor6 (11th), and MaestroAlexS (10th) each earned $7,016.62 for not quite making the final table.

With earlgrey23 and MCRez having nudged out ahead of tatasanjuan, just nine players remained.


2014.04.27-900million-finaltable.jpg

Seat 1: Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton (United Kingdom) -- 7,287,657
Seat 2: ilstmfkraliv (Australia) -- 3,532,283
Seat 3: MCRez (Brazil) -- 8,756,361
Seat 4: earlgrey23 (Canada) -- 9,807,377
Seat 5: djwilo (Australia) -- 6,139,242
Seat 6: PaPakwanto (Netherlands) -- 3,086,356
Seat 7: mikulita (Romania) -- 3,385,374
Seat 8: tatasanjuan (Argentina) -- 8,399,180
Seat 9: acehighdro (Mexico) -- 5,739,170

MCRez raises, falls in ninth

It would take more than two orbits for the first final table elimination to come. The blinds were 200k/400k with a 50k ante when ilstmfkraliv raised to 800,000 from early position, then MCRez open-shoved for 2,086,578 from a seat over. It folded back around and ilstmfkraliv called.

ilstmfkraliv had K♣J♥ and MCRez A♦Q♠. The board came 8♣8♠7♣9♣A♣, improving MCRez to aces but giving ilstmfkraliv a club flush to knock out MCRez in ninth.

mikulita mowed down in eighth

More than 30 more hands would pass before there were any other eliminations, then two came on successive hands.

The blinds had risen to 300k/600k when PaPakwanto opened for 1.32 million from the cutoff seat, then a short-stacked mikulita called all in from the button fro 458,248. The blinds folded, and mikulita showed A♣J♦ versus PaPakwanto's A♠7♠.

The 9♠K♣T♣ flop was okay for mikulita, but the 7♥ fell on fourth street to give PaPakwanto a pair, and after the K♥ river mikulita was out in eighth.

acehighdro axed in seventh

Then on the very next hand the table folded around to acehighdro in the small blind who shoved all in for 1,239,170 total (just over two big blinds) and Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton called from the next seat.

It was K♠4♥ for acehighdro and A♥T♣ for Charlton. The community cards came Q♦J♦Q♠, then A♣, then Q♣, adding up to a full house for judgedredd13 and a seventh-place finish for acehighdro.

tatasanjuan taken out in sixth

About 10 minutes later, the blinds were up to 400k/800k and tatasanjuan had slipped to just over 2 million before open-raising all in from the button. Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton responded with an all-in push over the top from the small blind for 5,441,024, and ilstmfkraliv called the reraise from the big blind.

judgedredd13: K♠J♣
ilstmfkraliv: A♣K♦
tatasanjuan: K♣7♣

All three had been dealt kings, with ilstmfkraliv's ace making that hand the best starter. The board then rolled out 6♦T♦J♥3♣5♠, giving Charlton a pair of jacks and tourney survival while tatasanjuan was out in sixth.

ilstmfkraliv eliminated in fifth

Three hands after tatasanjuan's elimination, ilstmfkraliv had slipped to 883,982, then after posting the 100,000 ante had less than a big blind behind. ilstmfkraliv pushed all in from the cutoff, earlgrey23 called for 800,000 from the button, and PaPakwanto checked from the big blind.

PaPakwanto and earlgrey23 then checked down the A♦4♣T♠K♣5♦ board, and when PaPakwanto showed T♥5♠ for two pair the others mucked and ilstmfkraliv's tourney run was over in fifth.

djwilo done in fourth

On the next hand after that it was djwilo open-raising all in from the button for 3,956,968 (just under five big blinds) and PaPakwanto calling from the small blind.

djwilo had K♠7♠ and two live cards versus PaPakwanto's A♦Q♦, but the board came 3♣3♥5♥6♣Q♥ and they were suddenly down to three.

A three-way deal, then judgedredd13 thwarted in third

The remaining trio played one more hand then paused the tournament to discuss a possible deal, with PaPakwanto in front with 29,718,294, Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton next with 13,478,888, and earlgrey23 third with 12,935,818. Some discussion ensued, then the three agreed to "ICM"-based figures with all of the remaining prize money being divided -- i.e., there was nothing left to the side for which to play. (See the figures below.)

"Only for the title now?" asked PaPakwanto after play resumed, and indeed that was the case. Even so, the players continued to play in earnest with no one crazily pushing all in.

The blinds climbed to 500k/1m, and after several minutes of three-handed play leader PaPakwanto open-raised all in from the small blind and judgedredd13 called for 10,722,843 from the big blind. Both had aces, but PaPakwanto's A♣8♠ was better than judgedredd13's A♠2♦. The board came J♣4♠3♦4♦8♥ and PaPakwanto's hand was still best, meaning judgedredd13 took third.


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earlgrey23 emerges triumphant after lengthy heads-up with PaPakwanto

PaPakwanto carried a big lead to heads-up play with 44,246,638 versus earlgrey23's 11,886,362. But earlgrey23 earned a quick double-up on the first hand between the pair after earlgrey23's 3♠3♥ survived a preflop all-in versus PaPakwanto's K♦4♦. PaPakwanto would whittle away again at earlgrey23's stack, then the latter earned another big double-up after another preflop all-in with A♥K♠ versus PaPakwanto's Q♠T♥, and earlgrey23 had taken the lead.

They played on further with earlgrey23 staying in front, then on the 43rd hand of heads-up play -- 14 hours and 15 minutes after the tournament had begun -- the end finally arrived.

The blinds were still 500k/1m when PaPakwanto opened for 2.2 million from the button, then earlgrey23 pushed all in. PaPakwanto called with the 16,527,552 left behind, turning over A♦Q♣ while earlgrey23 had K♦8♥.

The flop came 4♥3♠K♥ to pair earlgrey23's hand, and after the 7♣ turn and 4♦ it was over. In a day full of prizes, earlgrey23 won the last hand and the tournament, earning no further cash reward but the not insignificant prestige of having become PokerStars' 900,000,000th tournament winner.


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Congratulations to earlgrey23, PaPakwanto, and judgedredd13 for making it to the three-way deal from which each came away with big paydays. And kudos as well to all of those earning prizes either from the regular prize pool or during those wild early hours of giveaways!

4/27/14 Tournament Number 900 Million ($109 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants: 18,711

Prize pool: $1,871,100.00 
Places paid: 2,475

1. earlgrey23 (Canada) $152,532.44*
2. PaPakwanto (Netherlands) $176,278.11*
3. Dan "judgedredd13" Charlton (United Kingdom) $153,681.46*
4. djwilo (Australia) $84,199.50
5. ilstmfkraliv (Australia) $65,488.50
6. tatasanjuan (Argentina) $46,777.50
7. acehighdro (Mexico) $28,066.50
8. mikulita (Romania) $16,839.90
9. MCRez (Brazil) $11,226.60

*= reflects the results of a three-way deal

The final stop of Season 10 of the European Poker Tour is playing out this week in Monaco. Follow coverage of the Main Event here, and read reports from Daniel Colman's exciting win in the Super High Roller here.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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