Persistence Took THE__D__RY to Victory in the November 23rd Sunday Million

The holidays are approaching. But instead of heading to the store to buy gifts or, in the U.S., the turkey and accompanying groceries for Thanksgiving dinner later this week, poker players had something else in mind on this late November Sunday. What could be more important than the holidays? Sunday tournaments on PokerStars, of course!

But seriously, with the holidays approaching and the subsequent start of the new year, poker enthusiasts are looking for a way to show improved tournament results for the year, and if a few thousand dollars are won just before gift-buying season, then all the better!

A total of 7,755 players from around the world joined together in the spirit of poker to play the infamous $215 NLHE Sunday Million with the $1.5 million guarantee. But with so many players, the prize pool rose above that guarantee to $1,551,000, so the wealth for the night would be spread around just a bit further.

Joining in on the Sunday fun were several of the Team PokerStars Pros, including Gavin Griffin, Isabelle Mercier, William Thorson, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, Lee Nelson, Hevad Khan, and Andre Akkari. More names played and cashed in the event, including PokerStars blogger-turned-pro player Maria Mayrinck (901st place), Barry Greenstein (483rd), Ray Rahme (394th) and Marcin Horecki (174th).

And speaking of making the money, hand-for-hand play commenced at 3 hours and 43 minutes into the tournament with 1,171 players remaining, and it took about four minutes to find Thorbarden out of the event in 1171st place. That made way for rooney69 to become the first of the tournament to be eliminated in the money, as the reward was $310.20 for the 1170th place finish, and approximately 50 more players followed to the rail in only one minute. Play continued at an accelerated pace for awhile, as is typical after the money bubble bursts, but once the event was reduced to less than 50 players, it slowed quite a bit.

Once the tournament reached two tables, which wasn’t until more than eight and a half hours in, players stayed cautious, taking more than thirty minutes to reach the final table. Finally, with the elimination of Jan-E1981 in 11th place, hand-for-hand play ensued. In the very first H4H hand, Xanny21 pushed all-in preflop with a short stack of little more than 700,000. xfadomas666 called from the small blind, and Major_BomB came along from the big blind to see the 5d-3h-As flop. Players checked, as they did after the 6s on the turn and the 2c on the river. Major_BomB bet out with 5c-4s for the straight, xfadomas666 folded to that bet, and Xanny21 showed pocket sevens for the loss. Xanny21 left in tenth place with $7,755 for final table bubble status.

The final nine players took their seats at Table 1032, and the starting final table chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: A_Ivanovich (6753250 in chips)
Seat 2: Major_BomB (12095966 in chips)
Seat 3: Stammdogg (7207686 in chips)
Seat 4: parachuting (17204381 in chips)
Seat 5: xfadomas666 (7789228 in chips)
Seat 6: THE__D__RY (7502280 in chips)
Seat 7: Verichip (6436778 in chips)
Seat 8: Hikkespett (5545591 in chips)
Seat 9: thebosshead (7014840 in chips)

Sunday Million final table 11.23.08.JPG

Only a few hands into the action, the short stack at the table decided to move. After a raise from xfadomas666 to 1,200,000, Hikkespett pushed all-in for his last 4,682,712 with As-Tc, and xfadomas666 called with a dominating Ad-Jh. The board came 3h-8c-9s-7h, and though the Th on the river looked good for Hikkespett, it made a straight for xfadomas666 and gave him the pot. Hikkespett was suddenly gone from the final table in ninth place with a $10,857.00 prize.

Next, the players all seemed a bit stunned at the downfall of A_Ivanovich. After sitting at the top of the leaderboard when the field reached the final two tables, he lost ground and was suddenly the short stack with only eight players left. A_Ivanovich made a raise preflop to 2,888,586 with pocket jacks, and when Stammdogg came over the top with an all-in reraise, A_Ivanovich called all-in. Stammdogg showed pocket eights and would need to improve. The board did what he asked when it came 9s-Jh-6h-Ts-7h to give him the straight, and A_Ivanovich’s trips were no good. The former chip leader was gone in eighth place with $17,836.50 as a consolation prize.

A few hands later, thebosshead took a major hit when THE__D__RY doubled through him with A-K that turned into a full house to beat thebosshead’s pocket sixes. thebosshead was short-stacked with only 637,560 going into the next hand, and he pushed preflop all-in. Stammdogg and parachuting both called. The two checked the Qs-Td-5h flop, the 3c turn, and the Ks river. Stammdogg showed pocket fours, but parachuting turned over Kd-8c for a pair of kings. thebosshead simply mucked and left the tournament in seventh place with $27,142.50.

With six players remaining, action slowed somewhat, and it seemed that caution was the word of Level 36. Verichip did take the opportunity to double through Stammdogg, however, leaving the latter as the new short stack. Tried as he did, he could not climb above the six million chip mark for long and hovered around the 5.5 million spot for some time. Finally, when Major_BomB made a move all-in preflop, Stammdogg looked down at Kh-Qs in the big blind and decided to call all-in. Major_BomB showed 5h-4h and was in trouble. However, the board brought a five on the flop and nothing for Stammdogg all the way down as it showed 7d-5c-2s-Ad-2d. Stammdogg was sent to the rail in sixth place with a $39,550.50 prize.

Verichip had been sticking with a relatively short stack for awhile but outlasted Stammdogg with it. Finally, he pushed all-in preflop with Ks-Qc and his last 5,831,940, and xfadomas666 called from the small blind with Ad-Jc. The board ran out Ac-7h-2h-Kd-As, and trip aces were good for the win, while Verichip was relegated to the rail in fifth place, which was worth $55,060.50.

Major_BomB had been playing solidly throughout the final table but found himself the shortest stack with a little less than ten million chips. THE__D__RY tried to get in on the action preflop with a raise to 1.6 million, but Major_BomB pushed all-in for 9,879,253. parachuting called from the small blind, prompting THE__D__RY to fold with a comment: “well that makes that easier.” Major_BomB showed As-Kc, and parachuting turned over pocket nines. The race was on and to be determined by the virtual dealer, who gave them 7h-Qc-2h-7d-5s. That was that, and Major_BomB was forced out in fourth place with $70,570.50 in holiday shopping money.

Three-handed action saw xfadomas666 as the smallest stacked player for most of the action, until he doubled through THE__D__RY to climb up to a more-comfortable level of 16,294,224. It was parachuting who, no pun intended, went into a freefall. parachuting called an all-in bet by THE__D__RY, and parachuting’s Ah-7h couldn’t beat the Ac-Kd of THE__D__RY, so the latter doubled through parachuting in a pot worth just over 46 million.

parachuting then got involved with THE__D__RY again, calling a 2.4 million preflop raise to see the flop. After the As-Kh-Qc was dealt, THE__D__RY bet, and parachuting called the 2,850,000. But it was the turn of a 9c that prompted a 20 million bet from THE__D__RY and an all-in call from parachuting for his last 11,824,112. parachuting showed Kc-Jd for the pair of kings, but THE__D__RY turned over Ah-5d for the top pair of aces. An inconsequential 8s came on the river, and parachuting was out in third place with $86,856.00 in earnings for the day.

Heads-up action began with xfadomas666 at a significant deficit, with chip counts as follows:

Seat 5: xfadomas666 (14294224 in chips)
Seat 6: THE__D__RY (63255776 in chips)

xfadomas666 quickly asked about a deal in the chat box but got no response from THE__D__RY. That led to a more desperate move on the part of xfadomas666, as he saw his chips disappear on nearly every hand. THE__D__RY made an initial raise to 2,040,000, and xfadomas666 calmly called to see the 6d-4h-Ts on the flop. Both players checked, but when the 8s came on the turn, xfadomas666 bet all-in for 10,574,224. THE__D__RY called with 9c-7h and showed the straight, while xfadomas666 had to turn over his Qs-8d and meager pair of eights. The 3s on the river changed nothing, and xfadomas666 was eliminated in second place, which was good for a $128,112.60 addition to his PokerStars account.

THE__D__RY took first place and $189,997.50 in the 11/23 edition of the Sunday Million! It has been a long time coming for the seasoned online player. With hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings on PokerStars in only a few years, not to mention five cashes at the 2008 WCOOP, THE__D__RY had been waiting for a big score. Taking down the Sunday Million has to be sweet for the long-time PokerStars player, so congratulations to THE__D__RY for taking it down!

Sunday Million Results for 11/23/08:

1st place: THE__D__RY ($189,997.50)
2nd place: svadomas666 ($128,112.60)
3rd place: parachuting ($86,856.00)
4th place: Major_BomB ($70,570.50)
5th place: Verichip ($55,060.50)
6th place: Stammdogg ($39,550.50)
7th place: thebosshead ($27,142.50)
8th place: A_Ivanovich ($17,836.50)
9th place: Hikkespett ($10,857.00)

For more information on ways to register and qualify for the next weekend’s festivities, visit the Sunday Million page.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in Sunday Million