Sunday Million: Finland's Sand0-85 comes from behind to win $163K and ship the Sunday Milly

It's not over till it's over. That sounds like one of those quirky tautologies attributed to baseball legend Yogi Berra, but it could very well could have been uttered by a tragically hip Shakespearean character trying to sum up the uncertainties of life. In poker, it's never officially over until that final river card is dealt. And when heads-up poker comes into play, almost anything is possible no matter how far you're behind.

The final table of this week's Sunday Million progressed rather quickly. A player busted on the first hand of the final table and two players were picked off within the first full orbit. The action accelerated when it reached six players and in the blink of an eye, the field thinned quickly from six to two. When heads-up commenced, Elier9 from Canada held a sizable advantage against Finland's Sand0-85. Six hands into their bout, Elier9 attempted to land the coup de grace...but it failed. Instead, Sand0-85 dodged an elimination and doubled up in the largest pot of the tournament. In a single hand, Sand0-85 altered the entire course of history. Once Sand0-85 seized control of the lead, it took a mere 15 hands before Sand0-85 sent Elier9 home in second place. Finland's Sand0-85 was shortstacked with six remaining, yet rallied to win the Sunday Million for over $163K.

Sundays is always the holiest of holy days for both grizzled grinders and amateurs alike, which is why the Sunday Million continues to be the most popular weekly tournament on the interwebs. Where else can you turn $215 into over $163K in twelve hours?

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PokerStars has been experimenting with a re-entry format (up to 3 thru the extended registration period) for the Sunday Million, and this week's $215 buy-in Sunday Million attracted 5,783 total entries with 4,586 original runners and an additional 1,177 re-entries. The total prize pool of $1,152,600 surpassed the $1 million guarantee. The top 800 places paid out with first place getting a juicy cut of the prize pool worth $163,843.31.

With 27 remaining on the final three tables, a pair of Polish players sat atop the leader board. MIL_O_90 led with 6.5M and DarcAuror was right behind in second with 5.7M. Both battled back and forth for the lead after DarcAuror rushed past 6M. The closest player in third place held under 4M in chips. With 18 to go on the final two tables, Canada's JGagMan surged into lead with nearly 6.9M. With 13 left in the hunt, frontrunning JGagMan closed in on 8M.

On the final table bubble Elier9 and DarcAuror battled for the lead with 11M apiece. Leandro "leitalopez" Bustillo bubbled off the final table in tenth place. leitalopez's Q♣5♠ was outflopped by ungowa's J♥5♦. leitalopez whiffed on an up and down straight draw (which would have tied the hand) and missed a four-The board ran out 6♣4♣J♠7♣A♠ and ungowa won the pot with a pair of Jacks. Argentina's leitalopez went busto in tenth place.

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8/21/16 Sunday Million - Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Elier9 (12,139,249)
Seat 2: bofim (1,625,065)
Seat 3: MIL_O_90 (5,025,350)
Seat 4: ajetopatamat (4,930,589)
Seat 5: ungowa (6,515,257)
Seat 6: llKenshinll (1,619,708)
Seat 7: DarcAuror (10,968,944)
Seat 8: Sand0-85 (4,804,929)
Seat 9: JGagMan (10,000,909)

The final table commenced during Level 43 with blinds at 80K/160K and a 16K ante. Canada's Elier9 led everyone with a hefty stack worth 12.1M and fellow Canuck JGagMan was in third with 10M. JGagMan final tabled the Sunday Million last month and has over $1.2M in career earnings. Poland's DarcAuror advanced to the final table second overall with a shade under 11M. The shorty was llKenshinll with 1.6M.

LOCKED IN A TRUCK OF A CAR: llKenshinll eliminated in 9th place

How about fireworks on the first hand? The final nine did not waste any time before they rumbled. Short-stacked llKenshinll shoved from the small blind for 1,603,708 and Elier9 called with A♦6♦ from the big blind. Battle of the blinds. The board ran out K♦T♥5♦2♦4♠. Although llKenshinll flopped a set of fives, Elier9 flopped a flush draw and promptly got there on the turn. llKenshinll did not improve on the river and was knocked out. Switzerland's llKenshinll became the first player to exit the final table. Ninth place paid out $8,623.17.


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LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HAPPEN: bofim eliminated in 8th place

On the eighth hand at the final table, we saw another elimination. Yeah, the final table had yet to complete a full revolution around the table before a pair of players were sent packing. Another short stack attempted to double up, but the results were disastrous. bofim opened to 390,000 and ungowa called. On a flop of 7♣4♦4♥, bofim fired out 320,000 and ungowa smooth called. ungowa flopped a boat with 7♠7♥ and let bofim walk right into the trap. bofim turned Kings up with K♣J♥ and bombed it all-in for 1,683,065. ungowa couldn't call fast enough. The board finished up 7♣4♦4♥K♠Q♦ and ungowa won the pot with sevens full of fours. Ecuador's bofim busted in eighth place, which paid out $12,459.83.

AT THE HUNDREDTH MERIDIAN: ajetopatamat eliminated in 7th place

Another fateful matchup between a biggie stack and a desperate shortie. DarcAuror opened with a raise to 550,000, Elier9 flat called, ajetopatamat shoved for 4,012,589, DarcAuror bailed, and Elier9 called. Heads-up. Elier9 trailed with K♦Q♣ versus ajetopatamat's A♥J♠. The board ran out Q♠7♣4♥4♠9♦. Elier9 outflopped ajetopatamat and won the pot with Queens up. Ace-Jack was no good for the Czech Republic's ajetopatamat. Seventh place took home $18,003.38. And the rich got richer.

With six remaining, Elier9 expanded the chip lead to over 18.2M. Meanwhile, a trio of players were the shorites with approximately 5M... ungowa, MIL_O_90, and Sand0-85.

PIGEON CAMERA: ungowa eliminated in 6th place

Classic confrontation. Big slick vs. pocket tens. The tens lost the race due to the proverbial ace on the river. ungowa open-shoved for 3,863,689 with T♣T♦ and JGagMan called with A♥K♦. The board ran out 8♦7♥5♣9♦A♣. ungowa re-drew an opened-ended straight draw on the turn, but whiffed on the river. JGagMan won the hand with a pair of Aces. The U.K.'s ungowa was dunzo in sixth place, which paid out $26,013.37.

With five to go, JGagMan led with 21.4M and Elier9 was second with 18M. Sand0-85 was the short stack with 3M.

FULLY COMPLETELY: JGagMan eliminated in 5th place

Five-handed didn't last very long. In fact this bustout set off a chain reaction and all of a sudden this final table went from six-handed to heads-up. Sand0-85 limped for 350,000 on the button. JGagMan called and Elier9 checked. Action flop! The board was 4♦3♦2♠. JGagMan fired out 1,050,000, Elier9 bailed. Sand0-85 raised to 2,233,333, JGagMan re-raised all-in for 5,570,115, and Sand0-85 called.

JGagMan: K♠4♣
Sand0-85: A♠5♣

JGagMan flopped top pair, but Sand0-85 flopped the Wheel. The turn was the K♣ and the river was the 3♣. JGagMan only improved to two pair and lost the pot to Sand0-85's straight. Canada's JGagMan was picked off in fifth place, which paid out $37,587.20. With four remaining in the hunt, Elier9 led with 32.8M, but Sand0-85's rush propelled the Finnish player into second place with 15M. DarcAuror sat in third with 5M and MIL_O_90 brought up the rear with 4.6M.

FIFTY MISSION CAP: DarcAuror eliminated in 4th place

DarcAuror was decimated and down to a mere 420K. DarcAuror made a final stand in a three-way pot with A♠6♣. Alas, Elier9's A♦3♠ ran down DarcAuror with a rivered four-flush. Elier9 won the pot and Poland's DarcAuror headed to the virtual rail in fourth place. DarcAuror's payday was worth $54,310.62.

With three to go, Elier9 led with 38M, followed by Sand0-85's 13M, and MIL_O_90's 6.6M.

THE WHEREWITHAL: MIL_O_90 eliminated in 3rd place

Two hands later we saw another liquidation. MIL_O_90 bombed it all-in for 6,863,700 with A♥7♣, and Sand0-85 called with A♣Q♥. Sand0-85 hit the flop as hard as you could hit it. The board ran out A♠A♦Q♣8♠T♥. MIL_O_90 flopped trip Aces, but Sand0-85 flopped a boat to win the pot. Poland's MIL_O_90 was dunzo in third place and took home $78,474.54.

HEADS-UP: Elier9 (Canada) vs. Sand0-85 (Finland)
Seat 1: Elier9 (37,783,189)
Seat 8: Sand0-85 (19,846,811)

Elier9 went into heads-up with nearly a 2-1 edge. It seemed as though Elier9 was the player to beat and everyone else was playing for second place. But apparently, Sand0-85 didn't get the memo.

Heads-up lasted roughly ten minutes. On the sixth hand of heads up, Elier9 failed to deliver a knockout blow and Sand0-85 doubled up in a 36.6M pot. Elier9 lost with A♠8♥ against Sand0-85's A♣Q♣. That was the inflection point of the final table and swung the chip lead around 180 degrees. After that monstrous hand, Elier9 trailed nearly 2-1.

About seven minutes into their heads-up bout, Sand0-85 had a chance to put away Elier9, but Eiler9 turned a flush to win the pot and stave off elimination...momentarily. In 15 hands, the entire tournament would be done and Sand0-85 successfully thwarted any comeback attempts.

ELDORADO: Eiler9 eliminated in 2nd place; Sand0-85 wins the Sunday Million!

On the final hand... Sand0-85 open-shoved for 53,136,488 with T♦9♠ and Elier9 called all-in for 4,013,512 with Q♣5♦. Sand0-85 trailed, but hit the flop. The board ran out K♣9♥2♦K♥9♣. Sand0-85 won the pot with a full house -- nines full of Kings. Elier9's never improved and busted in second place. Canada's Elier9 earned $113,389.56 for a runner-up performance.

Congrats to Finland's Sand0-85 for earning a first-place payday worth $163,843.31.

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8/21/16 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants: 5,783 (4,586 entries, 1,177 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,152,600.00
Places paid: 800

1. Sand0-85 (Finland) $163,843.31
2. Elier9 (Canada) $113,389.56
3. MIL_O_90 (Poland) $78,474.54
4. DarcAuror (Poland) $54,310.62
5. JGagMan (Canada) $37,587.20
6. ungowa (U.K.) $26,013.37
7. ajetopatamat (Czech Republic) $18,003.38
8. bofim (Ecuador) $12,459.83
9. llKenshinll (Switzerland) $8,623.17

Check out our archives to read previous recaps of the Sunday Million.


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Pauly McGuire is the author of "Lost Vegas" and a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

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