From Freerolls to $235K – xanja turns pennies into huge score in 2X Sunday Million


It’s one thing to take the chip lead at the final table of the PokerStars Sunday Million. It’s another thing to take a commanding chip lead at the final table of the largest Sunday Million in PokerStars history. And it’s something else entirely to take the chip lead at the Sunday Million final table when you’ve never deposited a penny into your online account! That’s exactly what happened to xanja when he knocked out sjoko in 7th place in last week’s Sunday Million tournament.

Thanks to the PokerStars 2X promotion running all July, last week’s Sunday Million was really the Sunday Two Million, with a total prize pool of $2,836,200. Xanja took over the chip lead with six players to go, and rode his big stack all the way to a favorable chip-count chop and a $235,000 payday! We caught up with xanja as he was still trying to process everything about his fantastic run.

Mostly a $5 & $10 SNG player, xanja took a shot at the Sunday Million because of the 2x promotion doubling the prize pool. It also more than doubled the field, as over 14,000 players registered. Xanja got lucky early to survive, saying “I went all-in with pocket sevens after being raised. My opponent held pocket jacks. At that moment I thought the tournament was over for me, but the third seven appeared on the turn and I won the hand. Otherwise I had played really carefully and only played the best hands.”

One of the biggest hands of the tournament came when play was four-handed, and before any deal had been made. After a preflop raise from PokerMurphy1, kpax22 moved all in over the top with Js-10c. Xanja re-raised to isolate with Ah-Kh, and PokerMurphy1 folded. Kpax22 picked up a straight on the turn when the board read 5c-9h-Ks-Qh, but the 2h on the river gave xanja the flush and sent kpax22 to the rail. That hand left xanja a huge chip leader, and the remaining three players cut a deal to give $235,000 to xanja and leave $30,000 to play for. Xanja fell short of the final prize when TimDawg888 caught a couple of big hands to double through him and eventually take down the Sunday Million.

Xanja’s poker career started two years ago in freerolls, and he eventually built up his bankroll without ever making a deposit, winning a few pennies here and there from freerolls and then moving into sit n’ gos and MTTs. Keeping to his bankroll-building strategy, he won a satellite to get into the Sunday Million, making his return on investment even more staggering!

Fortunately for xanja, he has the summer off from his studies until September, so he didn’t have to get up and go to work after playing until the wee hours of the morning Sunday night. His future poker plans include keeping a nest egg on PokerStars from this big score while investing the rest, and eventually playing the WSOP Main Event. We can definitely see big things ahead for this young star!